Mumbai: A day before the Marathi Bhasha Diwas (Marathai language day), the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine was left red-faced.
Reason: For the first time in the history of the state legislature, the Governor’s speech was not translated in Marathi.
Such was the embarrassment that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had to tender an unconditional apology to the House for the gaffe, which he termed as “a very serious issue”. The apology followed after the Governor took up the matter with Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade soon after his speech.
“During my address to the Joint Session of the Legislature in the morning, it was observed that the Marathi translation of my speech was not taking place. I am of the view that this matter needs to be considered with utmost seriousness and strong action needs to be taken against those responsible for this lapse,” Rao said in his letter. A translator is generally hired for a day to provide the Marathi audio translation of the Governor’s speech. On Monday, the usual translator was not available; so, a substitute translator was brought from All India Radio. The person in question had reached the Assembly in time. However, for some mystifying reason, he was escorted and guided to the reading room instead of the Central Hall.
When Vidasagar Rao began his inaugural speech for the budget session, minus the translation, pandemonium broke out on the Opposition benches. The Congress and the NCP members rushed to the well and shouted slogans against the government. The leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde taunted the government and sarcastically said that most members were startled to hear a Gujarati translation on their headphones. Finally, the situation was redeemed by Minister Vinod Tawade who made subtle inquiries, rushed to the reading room, gathered the Marathi translation and started reading it out, much to the relief of the members on the treasury benches.
But there was no escape from the fact that the avoidable gaffe took place on the eve of the Marathi Language Day, which is held to commemorate the birth anniversary of renowned litterateur V.V. Shirwadkar. Generally, the government marks the occasion by launching a series of programmes to popularise the state’s official language.