Sharad Pawar writes to Modi, says 'shocked' at language used by Maha Governor in letter to Uddhav Thackeray

Updated: 14 October, 2020 08:30 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Uddhav Thackeray tells the Governor, who asked former in letter if he was receiving 'divine premonition' on keeping religious places closed

BJP leaders Praveen Darekar and Prasad Lad led a protest in front of Sidhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi seeking the reopening of temples. Many workers were arrested. Pics/Suresh Karkera
BJP leaders Praveen Darekar and Prasad Lad led a protest in front of Sidhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi seeking the reopening of temples. Many workers were arrested. Pics/Suresh Karkera

The tension between Raj Bhavan and the Chief Minister’s Office has been palpable since the Maha Vikas Aghadi government came into being. The two offices have clashed over many issues, but the latest, in which both Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and CM Uddhav Thackeray talk politics in letter and spirit has taken their battle to the next level.

Governor’s poser

On Monday, seeking answers from the CM over delay in reopening religious places in the unlocking from June, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari wrote to him asking, "I wonder if you’re receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing re-opening or you’ve suddenly turned ‘secular’ yourselves, the term you hated?"

BJP leaders Praveen Darekar and Prasad Lad led a protest in front of Sidhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi seeking the reopening of temples. Many workers were arrested.

He added, "You have been a strong votary of Hindutva. You had publicly espoused your devotion for Lord Rama by visiting Ayodhya after taking charge as Chief Minister. You had visited the Vitthal Rukmini Mandir in Pandharpur and performed the puja on Ashadhi Ekadashi." He said it was ironical that bars, restaurants and beaches reopened but "our Gods and Goddesses have been condemned to stay in the lockdown," despite the reopening places of worship since June 8 in Delhi and other states and no surge in the pandemic reported.

Thackeray’s beamer

On Tuesday, Thackeray gave it back to Koshyari in the same vein, saying his Hindutva did not require the governor’s certificate. He said lifting the entire restrictions would be as wrong as imposing the lockdown suddenly. "My Hindutva doesn’t need verification from you. My Hindutva doesn’t have a place for welcoming the people who call my state and state capital Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir," he wrote in an apparent reference to Koshyari receiving actor Kangana Ranaut at the Raj Bhavan.

Thackeray asked whether the governor accepted the concept of secularism in the Constitution which allowed him to take oath of the office, if only reopening the temples was Hindutva and keeping them closed made someone secular. He said he wasn’t as great as the governor to receive divine premonition. "You may have experienced it. I think of doing better here after seeing what is happening in other states and countries," he wrote. Thackeray also questioned the governor’s motive behind sending him the requests received by him (Governor) from various groups asking for the reopening of temples, masjids and other places of worship. "All three letters you sent to me are from the representatives and supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party. It could be a coincidence, yet the government is seriously thinking over your request," the CM added.

Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Uddhav Thackeray
Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Uddhav Thackeray

Koshyari and the government have clashed over political appointments from the governor’s quota to the legislative council which is expected to come up again from the CM’s office for the 12 vacancies any day soon. The governor’s approval is required for these appointments, that in normal circumstances, should have been cleared at least three months ago. The governor had asked the government to delay sending him names while the MVA has decided to not wait any further.

Later, the two offices had a difference of opinion over scheduling the legislative council elections, but the matter was resolved after the PMO’s intervention. Koshyari was reported to the PM for interfering over the pandemic measures. The final year university examinations row escalated further when Raj Bhavan and the government thought differently. The MVA has also accused the governor of selecting BJP sympathisers as vice-chancellors of universities under him. The CM has asked lawyers to amend laws that give the governor unilateral powers to recruit VCs.

BJP protest at temples

BJP leaders staged protests across the state demanding re-opening of temples. Opposition leader Praveen Darekar and MLC Prasad Lad were detained in Mumbai for protesting at Siddhivinayak Temple. BJP president Chandrakant Patil led protests outside the Shirdi Sai Baba temple.

Pawar reports Koshyari to PM

NCP boss Sharad Pawar reported the Governor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for compromising a constitutional gubernatorial post by behaving like a political leader. He wrote, "I agree that the Hon. Governor can have his independent views and opinions on the issue. I also appreciate the effort of the Governor to convey his views via this letter. However, I am shocked and surprised to know that the letter of the Governor was released to the media and also the kind of language used in the letter does not behove well for a person who holds a constitutional position. Unfortunately, Hon. Governor’s letter to the Chief Minister invokes the connotation as if written to the leader of a political party." Pawar added that in Maharashtra reopening temples wasn’t advisable.

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First Published: 14 October, 2020 07:05 IST

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