Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to holy pilgrimage Dehu in Pune district and Mumbai on Tuesday was marred by politics and war or words between Maha Vikas Aghadi partners and BJP. The trigger was not giving an opportunity to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also the Pune district guardian minister, to speak but allowing the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis to express his views ahead of PM’s speech after the inauguration of Jagadguru Shrisant Tukaram Maharaj Shila Mandir. In Mumbai, the PM's security asked Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray to get out his father CM Uddhav Thackeray's car ahead of PM's arrival.
NCP MP Supriya Sule took strong objection claiming that it was an insult for Maharashtra. DCM of Maharashtra and Pune District Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar was not allowed to speak in presence of the PM at a programme in Dehu. However, LoP Devendra Fadnavis was permitted to talk. This was an insult to Maharashtra,’’ she said. After the organisers invited the PM to speak, the latter asked Ajit Pawar to deliver his address even though it was missed out. However, Ajit Pawar politely declined as the announcement for the PM's speech was already made.
Sule, who was in Amravati in Vidarbha region, took part in a protest by NCP workers for not allowing DCM to speak at the function. ‘’As per the protocol, DCM Ajit Pawar should have addressed the gathering at Dehu. The state government had requested the PMO for Ajit Pawar’s speech as per minute-to-minute protocol. However, the government’s request was not entertained. This is an attempt to suppress our leader’s voice and it is despotism,’’ she alleged. She reiterated as per the protocol DCM should have been given an opportunity to speak.
Sule was supported by the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Sachin Sawant claimed, ‘’Ajit Pawar seems to have been deliberately prevented from speaking at the PM's meeting. Last time, Dada (Ajit Pawar) had pointed out the statements of Chhatrapati Shivaji, Mahatma Phule, Savitribai Phule made by an important person from the state before the PM.’’
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said he had no objection against Fadnavis being allowed to speak but DCM Ajit Pawar should have been given a chance being the ‘’Pune’ son.’’ ‘’It is really a serious issue,’’ he said.
However, leader of opposition Pravin Darekar downplayed the incident that for BJP the honour of Warkaris was more important than DCM’s speech. ‘’Why noise about an insult for Maharashtra? The NCP should be ashamed. Respect for Warkaris is more important to us than who should have or not made the speech,’’ he said.
Newly elected Rajya Sabha member Anil Bonde also criticised NCP claiming that it has a habit of politicising every issue.
Meanwhile, the temple officer bearers clarified that they had sent the name of DCM Ajit Pawar for his speech but it was rejected by the PMO.
Earlier in March, during a function attended by PM Modi, Pawar had brought to his notice the controversial remarks about Maratha king Shivaji and Mahatma and Savitribai Phule by Governor BS Kodhyari saying that ''unnecessary comments'' are not acceptable to Maharashtra.
Aaditya Thackeray asked to get out of CM’s car
Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray was on Tuesday told to get out of his father Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's car by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security. Sources said the SPG did this as Aaditya's name was not in the list of VIPs who were scheduled to receive the prime minister in Mumbai. The incident took place before the arrival of the PM in Mumbai at the Navy base in Colaba in south Mumbai.
However, the CM, who was perturbed by the PM’s security’s move, intervened and told the Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel that ‘’Aaditya is not just his son, but also cabinet minister, and so he could receive the PM as per protocol.’’
Thereafter, Aaditya was allowed to be part of the dignitaries present to welcome PM Modi.