Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi backing Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in his verbal spat with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on the decision not to reopen temples in the State.
Mr. Pawar said he was pained at the erosion of standards of conduct by the high constitutional office of the Governor. “I was shocked and surprised to see the letter of the Governor released to the media and the kind of language used,” he wrote.
“In the very Preamble of our Constitution the word ‘Secular’ is added that equates and shields all religions and hence the Chair of the Chief Minister must uphold such tenets of the Constitution. Unfortunately Hon. Governor’s letter to Chief Minister invokes the connotation as if written to the leader of a political party,” said Mr. Pawar.
Mr Koshyari had asked Mr. Thackeray “have you suddenly turned ‘secular’ ”, questioning the continued closure of temples.
Mr Koshiyari said, “I wonder if you are receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing the reopening of the places of worships times and again or have you suddenly turned ‘secular’ yourselves, the term you hated?”
“Do you consider opening temples as Hindutva and not opening them as secularism? Then what about the Constitution on which you were sworn in as Governor? Secularism is a core of Constitution. Don't you follow Constitution?” Mr Thackeray had replied.
The NCP chief in his letter to the PM said he ‘too would have noticed the intemperate language that has been used’ by Mr Koshyari.
“The tone and tenor used must always be in keeping with the stature of the constitutional post occupied by individuals. Looking at the turn of events, the Chief Minister, in fact, was left with no option but to release his reply in the press,” said Mr Pawar, adding that he does not oppose free exchange of views between both the individuals in a democracy.
The Maharashtra Congress also said the Governor’s statement was against the Constitution. “Governor has touched the foundation of Constitution and basic principles on which it is based. I will not personally attack him, but he should be careful while using the language,” said State Congress president and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat.