A letter war between Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Governor B S Koshyari came to the fore after the latter expressed his anguish over crime against women in the state, especially in the wake of the recent rape and death of a victim at Sakinaka. In his letter, the governor had advised Thackeray to convene a special two-day session of the state assembly to discuss the issue of safety of women. He also attached the representation made by women BJP leaders, demanding a special session.
However, in his reply, Thackeray claimed that the crime, atrocities and violence against women is a national issue and urged the governor to appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to convene a four-day parliament session where these issues can be discussed. During the proposed discussion, the Sakinaka rape case will also be brought up.
“At a time when the Opposition has been demanding a special session over the issue, you have supported their demand. This is a threat to the parliamentary democracy of the country,” Thackeray said in the letter.
Referring to the gang-rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in Delhi, Thackeray said, “This took place in a city where the entire council of ministers sit. The responsibility of maintaining law and order in Delhi lies with the Centre.”
The CM also mentioned about such cases prevailing in the BJP-ruled states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand (the Governor’s home state) and Gujarat. “In Bihar, a ruling party MP raped his own coworker. The police were under pressure to not register a case. An FIR could be registered only after three months, after a court order,” the letter stated. Reminding the Governor of the rising crimes against women in his own home state, Thackeray said, “You, yourself should compare the swift police action in Maharashtra versus the inaction in the BJP-ruled states.”
Stating that Maharashtra is the state of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the CM said that Shivaji always gave priority to the safety of women in his Hindavi Swarajya. “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj even respected the women of his enemies. He never tolerated injustice and oppression against them. The current government of Maharashtra is following the same tradition of Shivaraya. The expectation is that we will receive your blessings as a governor of the state and elder,” Thackeray said.
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant also took a dig at the governor’s suggestion of a two-day session, saying that the legislative session in Uttar Pradesh should be convened every day in the wake of high crime rate. “At the national level, Madhya Pradesh tops the charts among states for maximum rapes. The Governor has no moral right suggesting the government to call a special assembly session as he has not cleared the nomination of 12 persons in the state council, despite the cabinet’s recommendation,” said Sawant.
On the other hand, the state Congress chief Nana Patole supported Thackeray’s call for convening a four-day session of the parliament as safety of women is not restricted to Maharashtra alone, but is a national issue. “Raj Bhavan has become the BJP’s office and the Governor is interfering in the state government’s functioning,” he said, defending Thackeray for his immediate decisions in the Sakinaka case.
Earlier, in July, Thackeray and the Governor were engaged in a letter war. Thackeray had strongly justified the two-day monsoon session, saying that its duration cannot be extended due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. However, he was not committal on holding the legislative assembly speaker’s election during the two-day session, saying there was no ‘time-frame” for it.
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