Union Home Minister Amit Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah
Photo Credit: PTI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should have chosen his words carefully in the letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on reopening places of worship amid the coronavirus pandemic.

During an interview to News18, Amit Shah said: "I have gone through the letter. He has made a passing reference. However, I also feel that he should have been more restrained in the choice of his words."

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray are locked in a bitter war of words after the former pushed for reopening of places of worship in the state closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and asked the latter whether he has suddenly turned secular.

Thackeray responded to Koshyari's letter saying he will consider the request but asserted he does not need the governor's certificate for "my Hindutva" even as BJP workers held protests outside temples in various cities in the state demanding reopening of places of worship.

The spat erupted after Koshyari wrote a letter to Thackeray about representations received by his office demanding reopening of places of religious worship, shut since March-end in view of the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown.

In his letter, Koshyari told Thackeray it is "ironical that while on one hand the state government permitted opening of bars, restaurants and beaches, our gods and goddesses have been condemned to stay in the lockdown." Responding to the letter, Thackeray wrote to the governor, saying the state government will consider his request to reopen these places.

The chief minister said a decision on reopening places of worship, a demand being vociferously made by the opposition BJP, will be taken after careful consideration of the COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra, which tops among states in the number of cases and deaths.

In his letter, whose tone and contents evoked criticism from ruling allies the Congress and the NCP as well, Koshyari had mentioned that he has received three representations from delegations demanding that places of religious worship be reopened. In response, Thackeray pointed out the 'coincidence' that all the three letters Koshyari mentioned were from BJP office-bearers and supporters.

Free Press Journal