Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday asserted that he has not given up on the Hindutva ideology, reported NDTV. While speaking at a special session of the state Assembly, Thackeray was apparently referring to an exchange between him and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, where he had questioned if the chief minister had “turned secular”.
In an announcement made in the Assembly on Tuesday, Thackeray said that his government will take up the restoration and preservation of ancient temples with an aim to promote ancient culture and traditions. Upon announcing a fund for the project, he said: “This will make you understand that we have not given up Hindutva.”
In October, Koshyari had written to Thackeray, nudging him on not allowing the reopening of religious places amid the coronavirus crisis. “I wonder if you are receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing the reopening of places of worship time and again or have you turned ‘secular’ yourselves, a term you hated?” the governor wrote. In his reply, Thackeray said he did not need a “certificate” of Hindutva from him. “Secularism is a crucial base of the oath you took as Governor. Do you not believe it?” Thackeray responded.
On Tuesday, Thackeray also attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party on a number of issues.
On the matter of provisioning for a Maratha quota in the state, Thackeray said that the legal battle was in the “final stage”, reported PTI. The state government’s revision plea seeking to vacate the interim stay on the implementation of the Maratha quota is pending before the Supreme Court. He assured the Assembly that the Other Backward Class quota will not be affected once the Maratha reservation comes into force and criticised the BJP for attempting to create social divide by fanning that perception.
In a retort to Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis’ charge of an “undeclared Emergency” in the state in view of police preventing Maratha activists from entering Mumbai, Thackeray referred to the Enforcement Directorate’s action against Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik. Last month, the investigation agency had raided the legislator’s residence and office in connection with an alleged money-laundering case, and had detained his son, Vihang.
“Asking the ED [Enforcement Directorate] to go after those who bring breach of privilege against your favourite people is political perversity,” Thackeray said, according to NDTV. “Sarnaik has been called by the ED. His sons have been called by the ED. His grandchild hasn’t been born yet or they also would have been summoned by the ED. They may have said as soon as the grand child is born, bring the child before us.”
Sarnaik had submitted the breach of privilege notices against television journalist Arnab Goswami and actress Kangana Ranaut to the office of the Assembly Speaker in September.
The chief minister also defended the two-day duration of the winter session of the state legislature citing the coronavirus pandemic. “Parliament session is not happening this time,” Thackeray said. “The WHO [World Health Organisation], [newspaper] Washington Post have praised the Maharashtra government’s work in containing the pandemic in Dharavi. It is sad that you [BJP] can’t see this.”