Monday, Jul 04, 2022

Maharashtra CM, Governor Exchange Letters On Meaning Of Secularism

Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari had asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray if he had turned secular, since the state government has not yet reopened places of worship. The CM responded by questioning the Governor’s belief in secularism.

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari (C) with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (2L) at Raj Bhavan, in Mumbai. PTI File Photo

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has informed Governor B S Koshyari that a decision on reopening places of worship will be taken after careful consideration of the COVID-19 situation in the state. Responding to a letter by Koshyari, Thackeray on Tuesday wrote to the Governor, saying that the state government will consider the Governor’s request to reopen places of worship.

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.

An RSS veteran, Koshyari has served as the Uttarakhand BJP unit’s vice president and president. Koshyari also served as Uttarakhand Chief Minister.

In his letter to Thackeray, Koshyari had asked the chief minister, "Have you suddenly turned secular?" Responding to this question, Thackeray wondered if Koshyari’s definition of Hindutva is limited to reopening places of religious worship. He also questioned the Governor’s belief in secularism. "Isn't secularism a key component of the Constitution, by which you swore while taking oath as the state governor," Thackeray asked.

"I don't need your certificate for my Hindutva," Thackeray said, referring to Koshyari's letter.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister also added that public safety needs to be taken care of, while deciding if places of worship in the state will be reopened. "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 or lift the lockdown in a sudden manner," Thackeray said in his letter.

In his letter, Koshyari told Thackeray that it is "ironical that while on one hand the state government permitted opening of bars, restaurants and beaches, our gods and goddesses have been condemned to stay in the lockdown".

The governor also reminded Thackeray that the Shiv Sena leader had been a strong votary of Hindutva and had "publicly espoused his devotion to Lord Ram" by visiting Ayodhya after taking over as the chief minister last year.