Updated: February 11, 2021 10:03:57 pm
A row has erupted over the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government’s denial of permission to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to use the state government aircraft to travel to Mussoorie for a function on Thursday. Koshyari later took a commercial flight to travel to Mussoorie.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s office has clarified that the government has committed no mistake in the episode and further stated the Raj Bhavan secretariat should have verified whether the permission was granted before proceeding to board the flight.
According to Raj Bhavan, Koshyari is scheduled to preside over the Valedictory Function of the 122nd Induction Training Programme of IAS officers at Mussoorie in Uttarakhand on Friday. The Governor’s secretariat had written to government authorities on February 2, seeking permission to use the government aircraft, and had also informed the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
The Governor, who reached the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International (CSIM) Airport at 10 am on Thursday and boarded the plane, was informed that permission for the use of the plane has not been received. Subsequently, the Governor took a commercial aircraft and left for Dehradun at 12.15 pm, added the statement from Raj Bhavan.
A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said that as per the rules, permission is sought before boarding a government aircraft and the aircraft is made available only after approval.
“A message was sent to the Raj Bhavan secretariat from the Chief Minister’s secretariat on February 10 that the permission for use of aircraft has not been granted yet. The Raj Bhavan secretariat was expected to plan the Governor’s air travel and bring him to the airport after receiving the approval. But the concerned officials of Raj Bhavan did not verify the approval, which is why the Governor could not go via the government plane,” said the statement.
It further said that since the Raj Bhavan secretariat did not take adequate care of persons holding important posts such as Governor, the government has taken a serious note of it. The chief minister has instructed that the responsibility should be fixed on the concerned officer in the Raj Bhavan, it added.
The opposition BJP called the denial of permission the action of an “egoistic government.” “The government’s plane is not anyone’s personal property. Making the Hon Governor get off the plane is shocking and goes against basic decorum. After all, the Governor is a constitutional post and he heads the state government. The chief minister and cabinet ministers are administered the oath of office by the Governor. Where does so much ego in the MVA government come from? Never ever seen such an egoistic government in Maharashtra,” said Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis.
However, Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut refuted the allegations of the opposition, that the Sena-led state government acted with vendetta against Koshyari. “The Maharashtra government or the chief minister has not and will not do anything to disrespect the governor. There are rules and regulations set by the Home Ministry if the Governor wants to use the state machinery for his personal or private visits. If the government had broken these rules, then the government would have been blamed. The Maharashtra government has merely followed these rules. How has following rules become a question of ego,” asked Raut.
There has been an uneasy relationship between Koshyari and the Thackeray led-government for a year. The row between the Governor and MVA government comes in the backdrop of Koshyari not approving the 12 names recommended by the state cabinet in the first week of November for their appointment as members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) through the governor’s quota. The proposal has been pending with the Governor.
Earlier, there were differences between Thackeray and Koshyari during the nomination of the chief minister as a member of the legislative council in May last year. Thackeray had to finally seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to avoid a constitutional crisis in the state.
In June last year, Koshyari had termed Thackeray’s decision to cancel final-year university exams without consulting him as “unprecedented” and “arbitrary”.
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