Photographs of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) founder Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar and former chief Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar have been displayed outside the Mantralaya office of Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. The general administration department, led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, had issued a government resolution spelling out names of national leaders and icons whose photographs can be displayed in government offices.
The names of the two RSS icons did not find mention in this list, sources said. Mungantiwar initially said he wasn’t aware about the photographs displayed outside his office. He later said “someone had gifted me a three-dimensional frame displaying pictures of the two RSS leaders”. He said his office staff might have installed the photographs outside the office.
Bhagwan Sahai, Additional Chief Secretary, GAD (Operations Management), was not available for comment. Chief Secretary Sumit Mullick said: “I will look into the matter.” In January this year, the education department had issued a circular ordering rural government offices and state-run schools to remove photographs of deities or religious figures and religious texts. A government resolution, issued on January 23, had said the government’s measure was in line with the Constitution that insisted on the secular image of government machinery. The circular was withdrawn after the Shiv Sena lodged a protest.