Maharashtra: BJP workers during a protest held for reopening places of worship amidst pandemic.
Maharashtra: BJP workers during a protest held for reopening places of worship amidst pandemic.
BL Soni

After Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut slammed BJP for attempting to take credit for reopening of the religious places in the state, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Pravin Darekar on Sunday said that the state government was forced to take the decision due to huge public backlash.

Darekar's remarks came after he came out of Raj Bhavan following a meeting with Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

"What exactly is the role of the state government? What do they think about opening a temple? The demand of devotees was loud. There was pressure from all sides... Many people depend on the temple for their business... There was a huge dissatisfaction so this decision had to be taken... We don't want to claim credit for opening the temples. The people of the state know who was supporting them," he told reporters here.

"Sanjay Raut is in a dilemma. Who wants to take credit first? Pehle mandir Phir sarkar, you are the one who said that. The government had promised another wave, but our pressure was so great that the decision was made to open a temple," the BJP leader said.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday announced the reopening of places of worship, which have been shut since the COVID-19-induced lockdown was imposed in March.

Earlier, Raut had said that BJP should not take credit for the victory of Hindutva as the decision to shut the religious places was taken by the Centre amid COVID-19 pandemic and these are now set to reopen in Maharashtra.

"The lockdown was imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the decision to shut the temples was also taken by him, so there is no reason for BJP to take credit for the victory of Hindutva in this matter. I believe that the Prime Minister will have to tell the meaning of victory and defeat to such people," said Raut when that BJP is saying that reopening of religious places here is the victory of Hindutva.

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