Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has informed Governor B S Koshyari that a decision on reopening places of religious worship will be taken after careful consideration of the COVID-19 situation in the state.
Responding to a letter by Koshyari a day earlier, Thackeray on Tuesday wrote to the Governor, saying the state government will consider his request to reopen these places.
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 the 'coincidence' that all the three letters Koshyari mentioned were from BJP office-bearers and supporters.
An RSS veteran, Koshyari has been BJP's vice president and first president of that party's unit in Uttarakhand, where he also served as chief minister.
In the letter to the chief minister, Koshyari had asked, 'Have you suddenly turned secular, the term you hated?' Responding to this question, Thackeray wondered if to Koshyari Hindutva meant merely reopening places of religious worship and if not opening them was to him being secular.
CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray addressing the State https://t.co/E8qhmRTulz— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) October 11, 2020
'Isn't secularism a key component of the Constitution, by which you swore while taking oath as the state governor,' Thackeray said.
'I don't need your certificate for my Hindutva,' Thackeray said, referring to Koshyari's letter.
'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 and lift lockdown suddenly,' he wrote.
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'.
Koshyari said during the last three months, several delegations of religious leaders, individuals, NGOs and political leaders had met him to demand reopening of places of religious worship.
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.
We don't need lessons on Hindutva: Raut on Guv's letter to CM
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should only see whether Maharashtra is being run as per the Constitution or not and there is a people-elected government in place to look after rest of the things, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters here in the wake of Koshyari writing to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on reopening places of worship and the latters response to the same, Raut said the Shiv Senas Hindutva is firm and based on strong foundation and they don't need lessons on it.
Latching on to Prime Minister Narendra Modis remark that the threat of COVID-19 still persists, Raut said in view of the health concern, it is Thackeray's responsibility to take care of people's safety, and the governor should have rather appreciated the chief minister for doing so diligently.