Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Monday slammed the Eknath Shinde government over the deaths at the Maharashtra Bhushan award ceremony in Kharghar in Navi Mumbai a day earlier.
Thirteen people died and several others are hospitalised due to sunstroke and other health complications after several lakh people, mostly followers of awardee Appasaheb Dharmadhikari, attended the event under the scorching summer sun in the sprawling International Corporate Park on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters after visiting patients from the event at a hospital in Navi Mumbai, Thackeray said the event was held in such an elaborate manner with a massive crowd due to "political selfishness".
The award could have been given to Appasaheb Dharmadhikari at Raj Bhavan considering the oppressive summer heat, he said.
The state government could have averted the deaths by not holding the event in such a manner, he said.
"The incident is unfortunate but who do you hold responsible for it? It was not done intentionally," the MNS chief added.