In Thackeray’s comeback to Guv, Kangana Ranaut’s comment is his ammo
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday responded sharply to barbs from Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari over the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government’s decision on holding back permission to reopen temples in the state, telling him that it was for the government to decide after careful consideration of the Covid-19 situation in the state.
Koshyari had yesterday asked Thackeray to permit places of worship to open, throwing multiple darts at the chief minister for holding back approvals for reopening places of worship. Maharashtra has over 2 lakh active Covid cases, the highest in the country.
Shiv Sena’s Thackeray, a strident champion of Hindutva for decades, is often criticised by its ally-turned-foe BJP for toning down his shrill pitch on Hindutva after forming the government in Maharashtra last year in alliance with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.
Koshyari’s letter appeared to echo this sentiment when it complained how Maharashtra had opened bars, restaurants and beaches but “our Gods and Goddesses have been condemned to stay in the lockdown”. Or when Koshyari wondered if Thackeray - who he said, had been a strong votary of Hindutva - had “suddenly turned ‘secular’ yourself, the term you hated”.
Thackeray’s unusually blunt response sent to Raj Bhavan on Tuesday didn’t pull any punches. He told the governor that the three representations forwarded by him would be considered but pointed that they were all from BJP leaders. Then came the comeback.
“And yes, I am someone who follows Hindutva… My Hindutva doesn’t need your certification,” the chief minister told Koshyari who was a BJP politician in Uttarakhand.
Thackeray also turned a hugely-controversial comment by actor Kangana Ranaut into ammunition, underlining that his Hindutva does not permit him to welcome a person who called Mumbai “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”. Thackeray’s jibe was seen as a reference to Koshyari’s meeting with Ranaut last month after she was criticised by many Maharashtra politicians for comparing Mumbai with PoK.
The controversy over Ranaut’s remark dates back to early September when the row over the police investigation into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death was at its peak. Kangana Ranaut had turned into a sharp critic of Mumbai Police for its handling of the case. When Sena leader Sanjay Raut told her not to return to the city if she had no faith in the Mumbai Police, Ranaut had tweeted her counterattack, asking “why Mumbai is feeling like Pakistan occupied Kashmir?”.
The comparison had riled the Shiv Sena, which alleged that Ranaut was a proxy for Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who supported her, and got her protection by central police personnel. The bitter back-and-forth between the Sena and Ranaut had escalated by several notches after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation last month rushed to demolish portions of her bungalow that the civic body alleged was unauthorised.
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