Updated: August 4, 2021 9:41:12 am
Another row has erupted between Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government over Koshyari’s proposed three-day visit to three districts in Marathwada.
The state government has taken objection to the August 5-7 visit saying that the Governor was “interfering” in the working of the administration and trying to create an alternate power centre in Maharashtra.
Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte went to the Raj Bhavan on Tuesday to register the MVA government’s protest over the proposed visit.
As per the itinerary released by the Governor’s office, Koshyari will be holding review meetings with District Collectors in the Marathwada region and has also planned inauguration programmes of various developmental works. The State Government has, however, stated that the Governor is carrying out these inaugurations without communicating or co-ordinating his programme to the state government.
“During his visit in Nanded, the Governor will inaugurate two hostels constructed by the State Minorities Department at the University of Nanded. These hostels were constructed by the State Government and have not been handed over to the University. While the Governor as the Vice Chancellor of Universities has the right to visit and overlook their administration, he has gone ahead and decided to inaugurate these hostels without asking the State Government which has built them,” Minister for Minority Development Nawab Malik said during a press conference held after the state cabinet meeting.
Malik also took exception to the Governor’s decision to hold review meetings with Collectors in the districts that he was visiting.
“The Governor is trying to create a picture of two power centres operating in the state even though there is a clear cut delegation of responsibility between the state government and Governor. If he needs information he can ask the Chief Secretary and get it from him. By holding review meetings in Districts, he wants to paint a picture that there are two power centres operating in the state,” Malik said.
Malik added that the cabinet of ministers which met on Tuesday expressed its displeasure over the Governor’s conduct.
“This issue was discussed in the cabinet which has expressed its displeasure over these happenings. The Cabinet has asked the Chief Secretary to personally meet with the Secretary of the Governor’s office and convey to him that this behavior of operating as a second power centre in the state is not proper conduct,” Malik said.
Subsequently, Kunte met Santosh Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Governor, on Tuesday evening to convey the cabinet’s message. The Governor’s office, however, did not respond to the meeting or the allegations levelled by the State Government.
Sources from the Raj Bhavan said that the hostels in Nanded, which the Governor was to inaugurate, were functioning for the last three years but the state government had not formally inaugurated them.
“The proposal to inaugurate the hostels in Nanded University was sent by the vice chancellor of the university. After the government’s objection, if at all any change is to be made in the inauguration programme, it will be made by the vice chancellor,” said a source.
The source further said that the proposals for the meetings were received from three district Collectors. “Such meetings do take place when the governor visits a district. These are not review meetings but meetings wherein the administration will give a presentation about the districts,” said the source indicating that the meetings may take place as scheduled. During the recent visit to flood-affected areas in Raigad, the governor had held a meeting with the district collector, the source added.
It’s no secret that the MVA government and the Governor share an uneasy relationship. Last year, in October, the Governor had written a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over delay in reopening of places of worship, shut due to the coronavirus disease pandemic, and sought to know if he had turned “secular”. The letter had riled the ruling MVA.
Another friction point is the Governor going slow on approval to the 12 names recommended by the state cabinet in the first week of November 2020 for their appointment as members of legislative council (MLCs) through Governor quota. The proposal has been pending with the Governor for over eight months.
In July this year, the Governor had written a letter to Thackeray questioning why the state government had curtailed the Monsoon session of the Legislative Assembly.
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