Amid tussle with Thackeray govt over airplane fiasco, Guv visits Delhi

  • Shiv Sena seeks to justify CM Thackeray's stand on denying airplane to the Governor for "private tour".
File photo: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.(HT Photo)
File photo: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.(HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 14, 2021 12:04 AM IST
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By Surendra P Gangan, Mumbai

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who is locked in a bitter tussle with the Maharashtra government, made an unscheduled visit to New Delhi by changing his plan to return to Mumbai from Dehradun on Saturday.

According to information, Koshyari may meet some central authorities in the backdrop of the controversy over denial of the government aircraft by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for his visit to Dehradun on Thursday. In an embarrassing instance, Koshyari had to deplane after boarding the state's plane when he was told that the CMO had not approved a request sent by his secretariat for the six-seater plane to travel to Dehradun. Koshyari then took a commercial flight to travel to his destination.

He was expected to return to Mumbai on Saturday after attending 122nd induction training program of IAS officers at Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration at Mussoorie on Thursday. He, however, changed his plan and reached Delhi on Saturday by a commercial flight from Uttarakhand. He will be staying at Maharashtra Sadan (state's guest house in Delhi) on Sunday, though his secretariat did not reveal any scheduled visits by him. He will now return on Sunday evening.

Also read: Delhi records no deaths from Covid-19 in last 24 hours, second time this month

According to the officials in Delhi, Koshyari may meet some officials from Central government in the backdrop of the airplane row. “The Governor generally meets leaders from Delhi and Uttarakhand whenever he is in the capital. There is no official meeting scheduled but there could be a meeting on Sunday regarding this entire episode,” the official said.

State government’s attempt to turn the table on Raj Bhavan, by issuing a statement about action against officials in Governor secretariat, seeking report from them and the Saamana’s editorial terming the tour as ‘private’, is believed to have been taken seriously by the Raj Bhavan. The Governor is also expected to report the entire episode to the Union home ministry.

On Thursday, the state government denied the use of government-owned Cessna Citation XLS aircraft for Governors’ visit to Uttarakhand. This led to a row bringing the differences between the Governor and the Udhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government to the fore again.

Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', in its editorial on Saturday, termed it as a personal tour. “The Governor was informed a day before his scheduled departure that he cannot be permitted to use the aircraft as his tour was a personal trip. Despite that, he went to the airport out of his stubbornness. He should maintain the honour and dignity of the post he is holding. He is being used as a ‘puppet’ and its an ‘insult’ to the nation,” the editorial stated.

“It is the matter of interpretation if the tour was official or not, as he was invited at the IAS academy as the Governor of Maharashtra. It cannot be termed as his personal visit just because the academy is in Dehradun. Secondly, the six-seater Cesna was procured for the flying of VVIPs including the Governor, the chief minister and other ministers with the permission from the CM. As head of the state, the Governor does not need permission for flying but just intimate the government. He boarded the flight assuming that the permission will come at last minute as usual,” an official from the Mantralaya said.

He said that all other technical permissions for flying were in place, barring the official nod from the government. The official said that it was his first visit to which he asked for the state government’s aircraft.

Though the state government has said that they will seek a report from the Raj Bhavan, no such formal letter has yet been sent. “We have not asked for any report formally so far. If honourable chief minister instructs us to do so, we will write for such report,” said Sanjay Kumar, chief secretary, Maharashtra.

Saamana editorial has also said that the Governor has not appointed 12 members to the legislative council on the recommendation by the government because he follows the orders from Delhi. The appointment has been stalled at the behest of the BJP, it stated.

Meanwhile, there was no statement or clarification from Raj Bhavan over the reports on Thursday's incident.

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