Uddhav Thackeray shot back that he did not need Hindutva lessons from anyone. (File)
An acrimonious exchange has erupted between Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari over the reopening of places of worship in the state amid the coronavirus battle. After the Governor, in a sarcasm-filled letter, questioned whether he had "turned secular", s, and also alluded to the Kangana Ranaut controversy.
On Monday, the Governor wrote to Uddhav Thackeray "requesting him to announce forthwith" the reopening of places of worship with Covid precautions.
"You have been a strong votary of Hindutva. You had publicly espoused your devotion for Lord Rama by visiting Ayodhya after taking charge as Chief Minister. You had visited the Vitthal Rukmini Mandir in Pandharpur and performed the puja on Ashadhi Ekadashi," Mr Koshyari wrote.
"I wonder if you are receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing the reopening of places of worship time and again or have you turned 'secular' yourselves, a term you hated?"
He also reminded the Chief Minister that these places reopened in Delhi on June 8 and in other cities around the end of June. "There have not been reports of a surge in Covid-19 cases from any of these places," said the Governor.
He also called it "ironical" that the state government had permitted bars, restaurants and beaches to open and "on the other hand, our Gods and Goddesses have been condemned to stay in the lockdown".
The Chief Minister hit back saying his Hindutva did not require a certificate from the governor or anyone. Referring to actor Kangana Ranaut without naming her, Mr Thackeray added that "inviting people who call Mumbai PoK also falls outside his definition of Hindutva".
Mr Thackeray reminded the Governor that reopening of temples or delaying it "is not a question of secularism" and questioned whether Mr Koshyari had forgotten his own constitutional oath.