Devendra Fadnavis proved yet again that he is the ‘champion of secularism’

Cyber Journal 24 Web News, January 28, 2017

By Nitten Gokhaley 

Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis proved that he is the champion of secularism yet again by ordering the removal of photos of Gods from all the government offices as well as state-run schools located in rural areas. Thankfully, Shiv Sena cracked the whip and forced Fadnavis to roll back his decision.

According to the report published by Hindustan Times, on January 4, 2017, all the state’s district council offices received a letter from the Rural Development Department urging them to remove all the images. The letter also suggested that pooja and other religious activities must not be performed on such premises as it’s against the constitution.  Officials from RDD who interacted with journalists claimed that they were just implementing orders that were pending for several years.

Such demand was made by Buddhist as well as Muslim activists who believe that Hindu God portraits may create a feeling of insecurity among citizens from other religions who visit such offices. They welcomed this decision and TOI even published one article about the same.

Shiv Sena forced BJP to withdraw the order

“We are your alliance partner at the center and state. How can you issue orders to remove images of Gods? Why didn’t you talk to Sena’s ministers while taking this decision? You did this because you know that Sena’s MLAs won’t ever allow the government to do this in order to prove your secular credentials,” said Uddhav Thackeray during his interaction with the public in Mumbai’s Goregaon area on Thursday.


Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray highlighted several points about issues that triggered problems in Sena- BJP alliance.

On Friday, January 27, 2017, Shiv Sena’s MLAs met CM Devendra Fadnavis and demanded him to roll back this decision. State’s CM agreed and said the government has already issued the order for the same. He also claimed that orders were issued directly by certain officials without taking his consent. Sena’s delegation has urged the CM to take strict action against the official who issued the order. As of now, while writing this report, the state government has not declared the name of the official(s) or details about how and why the government decided to implement the pending order after several years.

Related: Photos of Gods in Maharashtra’s rural govt offices: As Shiv Sena ministers get aggressive, BJP-led state govt withdraws its order

The CMO has passed the blame on other officials. But, wasn’t it chief minister’s responsibility to take action against officials immediately on January 5? Why did he wait for Uddhav Thackeray’s speech if his intention was clear? Was he unaware about what his bureaucrats do? If it’s constitutional issue, why is it not observed in any other states?

Usually, the BJP IT cell members are first to share stories whenever Durga Pooja is banned in parts of WB. These self-declared cyber Hindutva warriors maintained pin-drop silence about orders issued by Fadnavis Government. Just like what they did in Sawan Rathore murder case as well as Constable Vilas Shinde murder case. They are probably busy ridiculing Shiv Sena for its decision to contest civic polls alone.

Nitten is a consultant journalist, and has worked with renowned newspapers, news agency in India. If you are looking for desktop journalist, writer, you can email Nitten-

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