The Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari has courted widespread condemnation form most political parties over his letter to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the opening of religious places for worship amid COVID-19 pandemic. Political parties have expressed shock over the usage of language which they say does not behove the position of constitutional authority.
In the letter, Gov Koshyari wrote: “Wonder if you’re receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing re-opening or you’ve suddenly turned ‘secular’ yourselves.” The letter was seeking re-opening of temples including Mumbai’s famous Siddhivinayak Mandir and Shirdi Sai Temple in the state. The letter came at a time when the opposition Bharatiya Janta Party’s (BJP) protested in Mumbai and attempted to corner the ruling Shiv Sena over the closing of temples when the bars and pubs have been allowed to operate in the state.
In his reply to the Governor, CM Uddhav retorted “As imposing lockdown all of a sudden was not right, revoking it completely at once will also be not a good thing. And yes, I am someone who follows Hindutva, my Hindutva doesn’t need verification from you.” CM Uddhav also said that the subject is under consideration.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo and Member of Parliament Sharad Pawar wrote to PM Modi, pointing out the ‘intemperate language’ used by the Governor in the letter.
Asaduddin Owaisi, President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and four-time Member of Parliament wrote on the microblogging site “very unfortunate that this is coming from a Governor, someone who has sworn an oath on the Constitution. That oath did not require a test on ‘Hindutva-ness’. The CM’s commitment to Hindutva in discharging his duties is irrelevant & should not even have been raised.”
This is not the first time a Governor has been criticised for the language used in the letters. In April 2020, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called out Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar for his “tone, tenor and language, which in the mildest words of extreme moderation, deserve to be characterised as unparliamentary”.