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Ministers to speak only in Marathi

Figure this one out. From now on, ministers from Maharashtra, even those fluent in English, must speak with foreign dignitaries in Marathi during state functions and foreign tours. The ministers can, however, take the help of interpreters.

mumbai Updated: May 13, 2010 00:59 IST
HT Correspondent

Figure this one out.

From now on, ministers from Maharashtra, even those fluent in English, must speak with foreign dignitaries in Marathi during state functions and foreign tours. The ministers can, however, take the help of interpreters.

So says the state's draft cultural policy, a first in 50 years, approved by the state Cabinet on Wednesday.

The policy recommends a slew of measures to promote Marathi language and culture, including sticking to ‘Marathi only' during state functions and with foreign dignitaries.

The reasoning: It'll highlight importance of Marathi as the state language, encourage Marathi translators and give jobs to locals.

"Most ministers speak in Marathi at state functions and they should," said Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal.

"Speaking with foreign guests in Marathi and through interpreters, however, may not be practical."

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan is expected to announce the details of the policy within a week.

Following a good response by the electorate to the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's aggressive Marathi manoos campaign, the ruling Congress-NCP combine has taken up the Marathi agenda.