Mumbai: The logjam over the delay in the nomination of 12 members to the state legislative council seemingly manifested itself in the form of air turbulence on Thursday, with the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government and Governor BS Koshyari locked in a fresh battle over the latter being denied the use of state government aircraft.
The Raj Bhavan alleged that Koshyari was de-boarded from the Cessna Citation XLS eight-seater jet, on which he was to fly to Uttarakhand. Koshyari had to disembark and wait for over two hours at the Mumbai airport in the morning, and finally forced to take a commercial flight to Dehradun. He was scheduled to preside over and address the 122nd induction training programme of IAS officers at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie on Friday.
The governor was to take the flight to his home state, Uttarakhand, at 10am. “Accordingly, a state government plane had been booked earlier. But, the permission did not come till the last moment. Raj Bhavan clarified that the governor was only informed after he had boarded the plane, that the permission for the use of government aircraft had not been received.
‘’Today, on 11th February 2021, the Hon’ble Governor reached the CSIM Airport at 1000 hrs and boarded the government plane. However, the Hon’ble Governor was informed that the permission for the use of Government Aircraft had not been received,’’ said the statement by Raj Bhavan. “As directed by the Hon’ble Governor, tickets for Dehradun were booked for the Governor on a Commercial Aircraft leaving Mumbai at 1215 hrs immediately and accordingly, he left for Dehradun,” the statement added.
However, the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, in its clarification said the Raj Bhavan secretariat should have made sure that the governor was allowed to use the Maharashtra government's aircraft before his visit to Dehradun on Thursday. ‘’As the Raj Bhavan Secretariat failed to do so, it led to a delay in the travel of an 'eminent' person like the Governor, the statement added.
Raj Bhavan had requested to allow the governor to travel by a state aircraft. "As per the rules, permission is sought before boarding a government aircraft and the aircraft is made available only after approval," the statement said. "According to this, the Chief Minister's Secretariat had, on Wednesday, February 10, sent a message that the use of aircraft had not been approved yet," it added.
‘’The government has taken serious note and the CM has directed to affix responsibility on the concerned official from the Raj Bhavan for not taking due care and causing inconvenience to the Governor,’’ said the statement issued by the CM’s Secretariat.
In October last year, Koshyari and CM Thackeray were engaged in a major war of words over the reopening of places of worship in the state, which had been shut since March, in the wake of lockdown following coronavirus. Koshyari had written a sarcastic letter, calling the chief minister a "votary of Hindutva who had turned secular.’’ Thackeray had strongly refuted the governor’s statement saying that he did not need a “certificate” of Hindutva from him.
Then, in May, there was a faceoff between the state government and the governor over the state cabinet's recommendation to nominate CM Thackeray to the state legislative council. Thackeray was facing a constitutional issue as he had to get elected to either of the two houses of legislature within six months of his swearing in as the CM,which took place in November 2019.
Koshyari’s decisions to convene a meeting with government officers on various issues, including the handling of the coronavirus pandemic also came under attack from the state government.
The governor had objected to the state government’s decision to not hold final-year examinations due to the coronavirus pandemic but allowing the students to pass with an average of their scores that far.
Koshyari met actor Kangana Ranaut who had complained to him against the Sena-ruled civic body's move to demolish parts of her office. He also met a retired naval officer who was assaulted by Sena workers for circulating a post against the CM on social media.