Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has cancelled his visit to the temple town of Pandharpur on Monday to offer prayers to Lord Vitthal.
The decision comes following threats by the Maratha Kranti Morcha to not allow Fadnavis offer prayers at the temple unless its demand for Maratha reservation was met.
Like every year, Fadnavis was supposed to visit Pandharpur on the occasion of ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’ to offer prayers to Lord Vitthal. It also marks the end of the month-long pilgrimage of the ‘warkaris’ (devotees) assembled across the state in large numbers. It is estimated that 10 lakh warkaris congregate on the last day at Pandharpur.
“I have taken a decision not to visit Pandharpur. Nobody can stop me from performing the puja. I will worship Lord Vitthal at home. The decision is to safeguard the lives of the 10 lakh warkaris who should not be inconvenienced because of the political decisions of a few organisations,” Fadnavis said.
He expressed concern over organisations using the Maratha reservation issue to create unrest in Pandharpur on the auspicious occasion. “Holding warkaris hostage to play politics and demand reservation despite knowing that the matter is before the apex court is unfortunate,” he said.