NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing shock at the "intemperate language" of Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari's letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on reopening places of worship in the state.
Pawar in his letter said he is shocked and surprised by the Governor's letter and its tone and tenor, calling the language "intemperate". He described it as an "erosion of standards of conduct by the office of Governor".
"Unfortunately Hon. Governor's letter to the Chief Minister invokes the connotation as if written to the leader of a political party," Pawar said in a tweet, after releasing the letter to Modi.
"In the very Preamble of our Constitution, the word 'secular' is added that equates and shields all religions and hence the Chair of the Chief Minister must uphold such tenets of the Constitution," the NCP chief said, adding he has conveyed his views to Modi regarding the letter by Koshyari.
"I am sure he too would have noticed the intemperate language that has been used and also the kind of language used in the letter which does not behove well for a person who holds a constitutional position," Pawar said.
The Maharashtra governor had on Monday written to Thackeray reminding him of his devotion for Lord Rama that resulted in the CM's Ayodhya visit after taking charge of the state, the trip to Vitthal Rukmini Mandir in Pandharpur and puja on Ashadhi Ekadashi Vitthal Rukmini Mandir in Pandharpur and performed the puja on Ashadhi Ekadashi.
Calling Thackeray a "strong votary of Hindutva", the governor said that he has wondered if the CM is "receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing the reopening of places of worship time and again'. "Or have you turned 'secular' yourselves, a term you hated?" the governor wrote in his sarcastic letter.
Taking strong objection to his words, Thackeray replied to Koshyari on Tuesday, saying he doesn't need lessons on Hindutva from anyone. He also slammed the governor for entertaining actor Kangana Ranaut.
Thackeray informed Koshyari that a decision on reopening places of religious worship will be taken after careful consideration of the Covid-19 situation in the state. He added that the state government will consider the governor's request to reopen these places.
In his letter, Koshyari had mentioned that he has received three representations from delegations demanding that places of religious worship be reopened. In response, Thackeray pointed out that it was a coincidence that all the three letters Koshyari mentioned were from BJP office-bearers and supporters.
Responding to the question on 'secularism', Thackeray wondered if to Koshyari Hindutva meant merely reopening places of religious worship and if not opening them was to him being secular.
"Isn't secularism a key component of the Constitution, by which you swore while taking oath as the state governor," Thackeray said. "While considering the sentiments and beliefs of the people, it is also important to take care of their lives and it is wrong to impose and lift lockdown suddenly," he said in the letter.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Koshyari should only see whether Maharashtra is being run as per the Constitution or not and there is a people-elected government in place to look after rest of the things. Speaking to reporters in the wake of Koshyari writing to Thackeray on reopening places of worship, Raut said the Shiv Sena's Hindutva is firm and based on strong foundation and they don't need lessons on it.