As a controversy broke out in Maharashtra between Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and CM Uddhav Thackeray over the reopening of temples, BJP's Nitesh Rane has reminded the CM about his party's demands of declaring India a "Hindu Rashtra". While the Maharashtra governor taunted CM Uddhav for being "secular" in his letter, the CM responded by mentioning his oath.
Nitesh Rane, however, referred to the remarks by Sanjay Raut in 2015 when he had backed I&B advertisement for the Republic Day which had carried a picture of the Preamble of the Constitution as it appeared before the 42nd Amendment of 1976 leading to a massive controversy. Nitesh Rane asked if Uddhav has forgotten his own stance.
He added: "I don't understand what objectionable was written in the Maharashtra Governor's letter to the CM of Maharashtra. He just asked Uddhav Ji Thackeray whose party MPs and party's stand has always been against Secularism. His party MP Sanjay Raut asked why shouldn't the word Secularism be eliminated from the Constitution. If the Honorable Governor asked the same question to Late Balasaheb Thackrey's son I don't understand what Uddhav Ji Thackeray felt wrong in it. If he really has so much of objection then why not he and his party declare that they are a secular party and they follow Secularism, will they dare to do that? That's what I want to ask him."
In his letter addressed to CM Thackeray on Monday, Governor Koshyari requested the Maharashtra CM to immediately announce the reopening of religious places with all necessary COVID-19 precautions. Lamenting that the MVA government refrained from opening places of worship for devotees in the Unlock 5 phase, he expressed disappointment that "Gods and Goddesses had been condemned to stay in the lockdown". The Maharashtra Governor mentioned that several delegations of religious leaders, political leaders and NGOs had met him in this regard during the last three months.
Observing that Thackeray has been a huge votary of Hindutva, Koshyari asked him on whether he received any "divine premonition" to keep postponing the reopening of religious places. Moreover, he questioned the Sena chief, "Have you suddenly turned 'secular' yourselves, the term you hated?" Noting that places of worship were opened across the country from the end of June, he claimed that a huge surge in COVID-19 cases was not reported anywhere. Responding to the Governor, Thackeray stated that the primary responsibility of his government is to safeguard the lives of the people. Additionally, he assured Koshyari that a decision on reopening religious places will be taken at the earliest.
In a heated response, CM Uddhav Thackeray said that his 'Hindutva' did not need a 'certificate' from him. "Sir, what you have mentioned about my Hindutva in this letter is correct, but my Hindutva does not need your certificate. Also, I don't need to learn it from anyone. 'Have you suddenly turned ‘Secular’ yourselves, the term you hated?' Why should we ask such a question? Are you saying that only opening places of worship is Hindutva and not opening them is secular? So don't you agree that secularism is the core of the event in which you were sworn in as Governor?" asked Uddhav Thackeray in his letter to the Governor.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining about the conduct of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. He raised concerns about Koshyari's alleged use of "intemperate language" in his letter to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray regarding the demand to reopen places of worship. While acknowledging that free exchange of views must take place between the Governor and the CM, he stressed that the tone and tenor used must suit the stature of the constitutional position occupied by the individual. To buttress his point, he quoted two specific instances from the letter which raised questions on Thackeray's stance on Hindutva and secularism.