Does Prithviraj Chavan have the magic touch to placate religious groups opposing his move to pass the anti-superstition bill? This will be revealed soon, as while the chief minister appears uncompromising on his stance to bring the bill before the state legislature in the monsoon session, starting on July 15, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and Rashtriya Warkari Sena have threatened to thwart the mahapuja of Lord Vitthal at Pandharpur on Aashadhi Ekadashi (July 19) at the hands of the CM, if the state government ratifies the proposed law.
This warning from the religious organisations has come on the backdrop of the cabinet approval of the long-pending bill. Chavan yesterday made known his unambiguous position on the matter.
“We will table the bill in the monsoon session and we are sure that it will be passed this time,” he said. The anti-superstition bill, which intends to check unfair practices like black magic and cheating by self-styled godmen and tantriks, wasapproved at a business advisory committee meeting recently.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Narendra Dabholkar, founder president of Maharashtra Andhshraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, welcomed Chavan’s statement.
“This is the first time that any chief minister has made such a firm statement regarding passing of the bill. He should honour his political and social commitments,” he said.
But striking a contrarian note, convener of HJS Sunil Ghanvat said, “We are opposed to each and every section of the bill as it is completely anti-Hindu. The government officials never take activists from any Hindu organisation into confidence while drafting such laws. The CM is cheating Hindus and we will oppose this move.”
In a press release, Rashtriya Warkari Sena’s Konkan region president Bapu Maharaj Raokar and Rashtriya Yuva Kirtankar Sham Maharaj Rathod said, “The government has deceived the warkaris by enhancing the severity and scope of the bill under the pretext of deleting objectionable parts of the
previous version. The chief minister should promise to retract this proposed law taking into consideration the sentiments of warkaris.
Else the chief minister will be prevented from offering traditional prayers } to Lord Vitthal on Ashadhi Ekadashi.”