Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor has time to meet Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, but not the thousands of "kisan brothers" who have assembled in Mumbai in huge numbers from all over the state, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said here on Monday.
Attacking Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari without taking his name, Pawar said that the farmers are planning to go to the Raj Bhavan to submit a memorandum after Monday's rally at the Azad Maidan.
"However, now I am told that he (Governor) has gone away to Goa. We have never had such a Governor in the state's history. He has time to meet Kangana, but not our kisan brothers who have come here from all over the state," Pawar said while addressing a huge farmers' rally at the Azad Maidan.
The NCP strongman said that it is the "moral duty" of the Governor to at least remain and receive the tillers of the state who are the 'annadaatas' (food-givers), but he did not even show the courtesy to remain in Raj Bhavan to accept their memorandum.
Pawar's remarks came after he was informed that the Governor is not in the state and has reportedly gone to Goa, putting a question mark on the plans of the Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha leaders to submit the memorandum.
Pawar termed the Governor's move as "an insult" to the farmers, agitated leaders of SSKM and other political parties which cancelled plans to depute a 20-member delegation to the Raj Bhavan to hand over the memorandum.
Instead, All India Kisan Sabha President Ashok Dhawale, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant and others said they would "tear copies" of the memorandum to protest against the Governor's "anti-farmer bias" and send a copy of the representation to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Dhawale pointed out that the farmers' organisers had last week informed the Raj Bhavan about their plans to come and hand over a memorandum to the Governor to repeal the three Central farm laws.
"This is an insult to the farmers and is regretful. We will tear the memorandum in protest," Dhawale said.
"The Governor has fled from the scene. This is the state of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. They cannot betray the farmers and go away like this," said AIKS general secretary for Maharashtra, Ajit Nawale.
Koshyari, who also holds the additional charge of Goa, was in the coastal state on Sunday for the closing ceremony of the 51st International Film Festival of India and to address the Goa Legislature Budget Session opening. He is likely to return to Mumbai late on Monday night.
On the absence of any senior Shiv Sena leaders at the rally, Dhawale said that Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray and Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde had said that they would be present, but they were tied up with the inauguration of a bridge in Thane on Monday afternoon.
However, Shiv Sena President and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had himself extended his support to the programme on Monday and sent a party spokesperson who spoke on the occasion.
In the final phase on Tuesday, the farmers will assemble at the Azad Maidan, unfurl the tricolour, sing the natinal anthem and take a pledge to continue the struggle of peasants-farmers till they get justice, the SSKM leaders said.
Mumbai Police have made elaborate security arrangements at the Azad Maidan with police personnel assisted by nine platoons of the SRPF, drones and other agencies deployed.
The action on Tuesday will coincide with the proposed 'Farmers Republic Day Parade' in the national capital for which an estimated 100,000 tractors have reportedly reached the Delhi borders.