Days after Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asking him if he had “suddenly turned secular”, he is receiving flak from various quarters.
An unreasonable step
Shiv Sena attacked the Governor saying “Bhagat Singh Koshyari has shown how a person sitting on the post of the Governor should not behave. He may have been a ‘Sangh Pracharak’ or a leader of the BJP. But today he is the Governor of a progressive state like Maharashtra, he seems to have forgotten this thing at his convenience…Sending a letter by Governor Koshyari to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will be called an unreasonable step,” Shiv Sena said an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna.
The Governor on Tuesday wrote a letter to Thackeray expressing concerns over the delay in reopening of temples. Koshyari had questioned whether the Shiv Sena leader had “turned secular”.
My Hindutva does not need verification from you
Responding to the Governor, Thackeray had said that the delay in reopening of places of worship is being done due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 does not need verification from you,” Thackeray said.
Secularism a key component of the Constitution
Uddhav in his letter asked the governor if the latter has forgotten that secularism a key component of the Constitution and he himself swore on while taking oath as the governor of the state.
Pawar’s letter to Modi
Former Union minister Sharad Pawar in his letter to Modi drew a distinction between political and constitutional office saying the word ‘secular’ is added in the very Preamble of our Constitution hence the Chair of the Chief Minister must uphold such tenets of the Constitution. He added, “Unfortunately Hon. Governor’s letter to the Chief Minister invokes the connotation as if written to the leader of a political party.”
Gehlot to Modi
Asserting that Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s remarks on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over temple opening row were not appropriate, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take cognisance of the matter.
Deccan Chronicles editorial
In its editorial entitled ‘Koshyari’s conduct beyond the pale’ , Deccan Chronicle noted “It was expected that the governor would urge the government to adopt a calibrated and cautious approach in the face of representations from sections of society to let temples be open to devotees when important religious festivals, where participation is typically at a mass level, are held. But he has done the opposite. He has chosen to be sarcastic in his letter and ask whether the CM has turned “secular”, forsaking “Hindutva” that he and his party Shiv Sena proclaim.”
The editorial further pointed out, “In fact, Mr Koshyari has no business subscribing to or supporting a political or ideological creed in official communications. In our Constitution, the role assigned to the governor is to ensure that a state is being governed according to the letter and spirit of the Constitution, in the absence of which the elected government can be dismissed and Central rule imposed for a limited period.”
The editorial observes, “In the present case it is the governor — the gatekeeper of the Constitution in a state — who appears to be in violation. Replying to his letter, the CM was right to remind Raj Bhavan that the occupant of the gubernatorial office has taken his oath on the Constitution, of which “secularism” is an intrinsic part. The tone of Mr Koshyari’s letter appears to strongly hint that he himself has no truck with “secularism”. Holding such views in an official document, which the letter doubtless is, the incumbent has cast himself beyond the pale of constitutional propriety and offers himself as a poor role model.”
It further stated, “In offending constitutional values, the governor offends the people of the state and deserves to be withdrawn. It’s a pity he has elected to emulate the poor example set by his counterpart in West Bengal. Looking at the broader picture, it appears that some governors in states run by non-BJP parties — Kerala and West Bengal come to mind, besides Maharashtra — have adopted the policy of needling their state governments. Such an outlook is unlikely to yield a harmonious relationship between the state and the Centre.”