Mumbai, October 13: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday backed Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray against Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari over the reopening of places of worship in the state. In a letter, Bhagat Singh Koshyari made scathing attacks on Uddhav Thackeray for not allowing the re-opening of places of worship, especially temples. Sharad Pawar said he was "shocked" and "surprised" by the language used by Governor Koshyari. Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's Letter to CM Uddhav Thackeray Proves He is Unwilling to Follow India's Constitution, Says Shiv Sena Leader Sanjay Raut.
"Governor's letter to the Chief Minister invoked the connotation as if written to the leader of a political party," Pawar said in a statement. He added: "I firmly believe that in a democracy, free exchange of views between Governor and Chief Minister must take place. However, tone and tenor must always be in keeping with stature of constitutional post occupied by individuals. Looking at the turn of events, the Chief Minister in fact was left with no option but to release his reply to Governor in the press."
Pawar, a member of Rajya Sabha and former Union Minister, said he full endorse the decision of Thackeray over the reopening of places of worship in Maharashtra. The NCP supremo pointed out that the word 'secular' is mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution and a Chief Minister is duty-bound to uphold the tenant.
Uddhav Thackeray Vs Bhagat Singh Koshyari:
A political controversy erupted earlier today after Governor Koshyari's letter attacking Thackeray emerged in the press. "You have been a strong votary of Hindutva… Have you turned ‘secular' yourself, the term which you hated?" Koshyari asked Thackeray. The Governor pointed out how Thackeray had "publicly espoused" his devotion for Lord Ram by visiting Ayodhya after taking charge as CM and later performed the pooja at the famed Pandharpur's Lord Vitthal and Goddess Rukmini Temple on Ashadhi Ekadashi, July 1.
"It is ironic that while on one hand, the state government has permitted the opening of bars, restaurants and beaches, on the other hand our Gods and Goddesses have been condemned to stay in the lockdown," Governor Koshyari said. Hitting back, Thackeray said what the Governor mentioned about ‘Hindutva' was absolutely correct.
"However, I don't need a certificate on Hindutva from anybody, nor do I have to learn it from anyone. Those giving a warm welcome to people who compare my state and its capital (Mumbai) with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir don't fit in my Hindutva," the Chief Minister asserted.
Reacting to the Governor's comments on Thackeray's ‘secular' credentials, the Shiv Sena President asked: "Are you implying that merely opening temples is ‘Hindutva' and keeping them shut is being ‘secular',?" "You have taken the oath as Governor on the Constitution whose core principle is ‘secularism' – don't you agree with that," Thackeray asked pointedly.