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Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis to conduct puja at Pandharpur today

As part of a long-standing tradition on ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’, the CM, on behalf of the entire state, offers prayers at the temple dedicated to Lord Vitthal and Rukmini at Pandharpur in Solapur district, around 250km from Pune

mumbai Updated: Jul 12, 2019 01:11 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Devendra Fadnavis,Maharashtra
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis(HT FILE)

After a break from tradition last year, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will on Friday conduct the ceremonial puja of Lord Vitthal at Pandharpur temple with his wife Amruta.

As part of a long-standing tradition on ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’, the CM, on behalf of the entire state, offers prayers at the temple dedicated to Lord Vitthal and Rukmini at Pandharpur in Solapur district, around 250km from Pune.

Last year, Fadnavis was forced to stay away from the puja after Maratha agitators threatened to disrupt the procession or ‘wari’ if he held the puja. The CM had then revealed there were intelligence reports that agitators were planning to create “stampede-like condition” in the procession of lakhs of devotees by releasing snakes in the crowd. His statements did not go down well with either the Maratha community or the warkari sect.

His presence at the temple this year ahead of the assembly polls is a vindication of sorts. He has been successful in quelling down Maratha and farmers protests that hijacked his government during much of the last tenure. And, the state BJP swept the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.

After last year’s controversy, Fadnavis has not only managed to end the Maratha agitation by granting reservation to the community, but, in a goodwill gesture, has also managed to endear himself to the warkaris. In his personal capacity and initiative, Fadnavis last month distributed five lakh raincoats to those undertaking the 21-day procession. The procession saw thousands wearing CM-gifted yellow raincoats.

“This is a good time to look back at what we have achieved…Many works have been completed by us, many more are remaining. I want to free every home and entire state from drought and make farming prosperous. That’s my goal for the next five years. And I will seek blessings for this from Lord Vithal,” said Fadnavis, addressing farmers at an agriculture exhibition organised in Pandharpur on the occasion of Ekadashi.

At the exhibition, delegations of Maratha and Dhangar community felicitated Fadnavis. While there were reports that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray would accompany Fadnavis for the puja as well, this has been denied by both the parties. “Last year, the CM was forced to stay away by a section of political opponents and he did that to ensure law and order. The gesture of giving raincoats is personal and it has been done with the help of several social organisations,” said an official from the CMO.

JOBS FOR MARATHAS selected in 2014 

After the reservation under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, the government has now decided to provide government jobs to Maratha community members who got selected under the quota in 2014, but could not get the jobs following a stay on the decision by the Bombay high court within three months. Around 3000 people from the Maratha community are likely to get benefit from the decision. “As the HC cleared the SEBC Act, the state decided to complete the recruitment process of 2014,” said Shivajirao Daund, secretary, GAD.

First Published: Jul 12, 2019 01:11 IST