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Miffed CM skips Day 2

mumbai Updated: Dec 27, 2010 01:47 IST
Dharmendra Jore
Dharmendra Jore
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A day after organisers of the three-day 84th All-India Marathi Literary Festival apologised for glorifying Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse in their official publication, the organisers have another goof-up on their hands.

The organisers put chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s name on the invitation card as a guest for a programme that literature enthusiasts were anxiously awaiting. The card said Chavan would participate in the mock trial in which he, as head of the state, would be tried for causing the deterioration of Marathi.

But, Chavan skipped the programme on Sunday afternoon because organisers forgot a vital point – they did not ask Chavan before putting his name on the card.

And, despite his office’s request to have the card corrected, the organisers did not do so. Upset enthusiasts, who did not know what happened behind the scenes, accused Chavan of staying away in view of uncomfortable questions that would come his way in the mock trial.

“All of a sudden we learned that the CM would not be attending. The organisers did not tell us the reasons, but said agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil would represent the state,” said Shrikant Patil, who had come especially for the programme. “Now I understand that putting the CM’s name on the card was a publicity gimmick by the organisers.”

The CM’s office clarified that the organisers had not sought Chavan’s permission before putting his name on the invitation card. “They printed the (invitation) cards before the CM could grant them dates. And, when we brought this to their notice, they did not correct the cards. They did not bother to explain the truth to the people either,” the CM’s official public relations officer told Hindustan Times. “But the organisers gave CMO a letter of apology.”

Organising committee chief, PK Datar, initially feigned ignorance. But, when told that the organisers regretted the mistake in a letter to the CM, he admitted to the goof-up.

“We did print invitation cards before receiving the CM’s approval. But then we rushed to Nagpur (where the CM was in the legislature) to convince him. He has now agreed to attend the concluding ceremony on Monday,” Datar told HT.

Senior Congressmen Narayan Pawar, who is the party’s group leader in the Thane municipal corporation, has urged Chavan to skip the concluding ceremony because of the Godse episode.

Apologetic organisers assured that they would delete the controversial text on Godse.