A war of words has broken between the Chief Minister of Maharasthra and a reputed journalist on social media. The constructive criticism of Devendra Fadnavis-led government by Rajdeep Sardesai didn’t go down too well with Chief Minister, who was quick to respond with an open letter of his own, questioning the motive of the journalist.. Mr.Sardesai was quick in giving a fitting reply, and this time elaborating on the issues concerning not just just him, but the citizens at large, without making it look personal this time.
The Sardesai v/s Fadnavis war of words was soon trending on social media, with most nettizens backing the journalist. Though, I’m a journalist, too, but that’s not the reason for me backing Sardesai. To be honest, I’m not losing any sleep over Sardesia’s comments, but what’s got me writing about this is the bizarre repartee by a Chief Minister.
Devendra Fadnavis has defended his government on four key issues prevailing in the state –
- Meat ban during Paryushan
- Shunting out Rakesh Maria; then transferring the Sheena Bora case to CBI
- The controversial circular on the issue if sedition
- Highlighting his government’s initiative to solve the drought crisis
Well, I’m not here to question the government’s efforts on point 4 and neither am I here to question their controversial decisions on the first three issues. What i’m really bewildered is at the reasoning given by a Law graduate and a Business management degree holder, who also happens to be our CM.
- MEAT BAN
Now personally, I’m against the slaughter of cows, not for purely any religious reasons, but I’d backed this move citing that the minority community would swear at the very mention of pork. So just like non-Muslims have accepted no pork consumption in Muslim regions/countries, the Jains of Mira Road and Bhayender are practising no-meat policy in their regions. Majority decision specific to regions is acceptable, but they surely don’t speak for the nation. That’s a debate for some other time. Let’s look at what our CM had to say in defence of the meat ban by Jains
Fadnavis washed his hands off it claiming that it was actually the previous government which had proposed such a ban. He merely put the onus on the Jains and local corporators in those areas for having the meat ban policy extended from the usual two to eight-days of the Paryushan.
So Sir, are you telling me that as CHIEF MINISTER of the state, you don’t control these local municipal corporations? Are these corporations bigger than the Chief Minister of the state? Are you so powerless as CM, that if these local bodies take an unreasonable stand, that you can’t do a thing to stop it?
2. Shunting Maria; shifting case to CBI
I’m totally at my wits end in trying to understand the rationale given by the CM to shunt Rakesh Maria out of the Sheena Bora case. Well, Maria may be media savvy, but he was the police commissioner when this case broke out, and as the CP, what was wrong if he was taking an active interest in the case? You claim that police chief is not an investigating officer but merely a supervisory authority. Fine, but then shouldn’t Rakesh Maria have been allowed to ‘SUPERVISE’ the case till a charge sheet was framed.
You also said that shifting of a police chief to another department before completion of his tenure is done so as to enable the successor to get better stock of the prevailing situation. Then you say that it was better to make the change before the festivities started. My oh my, here’s a high profile case involving a top corporate and our Chief Minister is more concerned with rolling out festive rosters? Goodness gracious, taking out a ‘supervising’ police chief from a high profile case and shifting him elsewhere, isn’t that akin to subversion of justice?
Nevertheless, as it was speculated, Maria’s alleged proximity to Peter Mukherjea was said to be the bone of contention here and so he was shunted out. But then you replaced Maria with Javed Ahmed, a man who later confesses to not only knowing the Mukherjeas, but also having hosted them for a Eid party. Whoa! guess, I’m glad that Mr.Ahmed made this declaration as I’m sure he didn’t want to be shunted out like his predecessor. The joke thereafter was that, perhaps, the government was concerned that if they replaced Ahmed, his successor might have come out with a statement that read
‘I not only knew the Mukherjeas, but I also f****d Indrani’.
Jokes apart, Fadnavis expressed surprise at the previous government’s move to appoint Rakesh Maria as the Police Commissioner when he was junior to Javed Ahmed and Vijay Kamble. He was of the opinion that seniority should be respected while appointing a chief of the police. He goes on to add that appointing a Muslim or a Dalit as a top cop would have sent the right social message. Despite their secular credentials, Fadnavis accused the Congress of not thinking on the same lines.
My oh my, Mr.Fadnavis, the post of Police Commissioner is not your electoral polls where you ought to please the minority or the backward for votes, Strangely, your pseudo-secular charge has boomeranged on you! Besides, if seniority is the criteria, then by that count you shouldn’t be the CM either. After all, there were other seniors (BalasahebThorat) who deserved the coveted post before you.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had picked you over others as he felt you were the best man for the job. Shouldn’t the best talent get the top job as opposed to seniority? Why then why beat the ‘seniority’ trumpet in assigning a police chief? Clearly, you’ve forgotten how you got the CM’s job.
3. Issue of sedition
Well, as a nationalist, I wear the tri colour on my sleeves. I would take offence to any individual indulging in acts of seditions. So, a stronger law against such offenders is needed, but the question is your government really following it sincerely. Often, the word sedition finds a mention in relation to politics in Kashmir Valley. However, despite the many provoking, anti-national acts by the separatists and other hard liners, your government is apprehensive in putting these people to task. In stead, what we see is that you go hard on the likes of Amish Trivedi, a cartoonist or silence young voices of dissent in Chennai.
Well, I wouldn’t comment more on the issue except that the validity of your controversial circular on sedition was torn to pieces by Maharashtrian justices themselves even before giving any serious thought to it.
My knowledge on point 4 is limited, so, I’ll probably back your efforts, but I’d like to ask you sir, whilst your priority is the poor (and rightly so) but hope you haven’t forgotten the plight of middle class Mumbaikars.. Some of the above issues doesn’t buy us food, but I wonder are you giving enough food for thought to issues like inflation, poor roads, water shortage in the city?
Just in case, M/s Sardesai & co have distracted you with the Sheenas, with the Marias, the Trivedis, Sir, I’d like to inform you that ONIONS ARE STILL PRICED AT RS.70 kg. Sir, please peel off our tears too.
You’ve had your moments of flip flops with the traffic diversion to smoothen your ride and the infamous holding up of the Air India flight to accommodate your absent minded secretary. Whilst you still command respect amongst lot of Maharashtrians, your indiscretions of the past and the present are making the voters impatient and question their decision. Four years down the line, they might turn back to the pseudo-seculars and I’m afraid you won’t be able to BAN that decision.