Mumbai: In the month of October last year, it was revealed that former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is the leader of opposition in the State Assembly, dashed off over 100 letters to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray but none of them elicited any reply. Similarly, over 150 letters have been written by Pravin Darekar, leader of opposition in State Council and that too has met a similar fate.
The well-established norms in the democratic set up say whenever the leader of opposition writes to CM, he should receive a prompt reply from the CM even though such a letter is directed to another department for fact-checks. Things have changed drastically ever since the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government came to power. The bitterness seems to be so strong that it has failed to settle the protocol matters in order.
The number of letters written by Fadnavis may have been more than 150 by now. But hardly any of these has been personally acknowledged or responded by the CM. Darekar could not hide his exasperation on Sunday when he said the CM was expected to respond to a letter addressed to him by Fadnavis two days ago. But it was left to the BMC, who chose to refute the allegations made by Fadnavis over fudging the numbers of Covid related deaths. The BMC has offered evasive replies to the points raised by Fadnavis and avoided any comment on the figures of Covid related deaths.
When Darekar raised the issue of response to the letters, during the budget session of the state legislature, CM had acknowledged with regret saying he could not respond. But things have not moved beyond that, said a close associate of Darekar. In a few letters, just an acknowledgement was given through e-mails but nothing beyond that has happened, sources close to both the leaders say.
While CM was not available for the response, an official from the CMO, who is not authorised to speak to media, said it’s a well-established practice whenever a letter is received in CMO, after due diligence, it is directed to the concerned department whose secretary or the minister in charge is expected to respond. But he did not say anything when it was pointed out that personal acknowledgement is given to the letters written by prominent people including the leader of the opposition.