Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's eight-day Europe tour, which was to begin on October 1, has been postponed. While Shiv Sena (UBT) has claimed the credit for the postponement, political circles are abuzz with speculation whether the tour was postponed due to the pending disqualification case against CM Shinde and his 15 colleagues.
Purpose of the CM's tour, between October 1 & 8, was said to be to inspect modern road technology in Germany and discuss investment in Britain. But, the tour stands cancelled as of now. Sources in the administration said that the visit will be planned again after a few days.
Agenda for Europe tour
Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Adv Rahul Narvekar, on Monday started hearing on the petitions for disqualification of Shiv Sena MLAs. The next hearing is scheduled to be held on October 13. Also, the Speaker is expected to announce the exact schedule of the hearing procedure in a couple of days. It is due to this ongoing political struggle CM Shinde is said to have canceled his Europe tour.
Apart from CM Shinde, some of his cabinet colleagues and government officials too were expected to participate in the Europe tour. During his visit to Britain, CM Shinde was expected to pen a memorandum of understanding to bring to India the tiger claws used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for the killing of Afzal Khan, which are at the Victoria and Albert Museum there. Minister for Cultural Affairs Sudhir Mungantiwar had made an announcement in this regard. However, now it appears that Mungantiwar will sign the MoU on behalf of the Maharashtra government.
"The illegal Chief Minister...," Aditya Thackeray
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (UBT) claimed that due to the questions raised by Aaditya Thackeray, the CM had to cancel his Europe tour. Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Ambadas Danve said “Aditya Thackeray had raised questions about this foreign tour. What is the purpose of this tour? What is its itenary? Who is paying for the tour? Many such questions were raised by Aditya Thackeray. This tour would have gone off unhindered, had Aditya Thackeray not raised such questions. There is a dialogue in a Hindi film. 'Ye Dar Achcha Hain'. This is the same situation.”
"I don't think the hearing should have affected the tour, but there must have been some reason for the tour to be postponed," he added.
"The illegal Chief Minister has planned a week-long Europe tour. I have no objection to foreign visits that bring investment to our country or state. But this visit should not be like their trip to Davos. The government had spent Rs 40 crore for 28 hours on the Davos trip. At the same time, the government had not announced the meeting schedule of the Davos tour, there were no photos of the tour, and the government is still hiding the expenditure figures for this tour. A day's work should not be extended to one week for one's holiday. Otherwise, it is not a tour, but a trip at taxpayers' expense," Aditya Thackeray had said while criticizing the Cm's tour plan.