Days after Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari’s letter calling for a special session of the state assembly following the rape and murder of a woman in Mumbai’s Sakinaka, Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray has hit back saying Mr Koshyari should request the Centre to call a session of parliament to discuss issues concerning the safety of women and growing attacks on them.
In his letter to the governor written on Monday, Mr Thackeray listed crimes against women in BJP-ruled states including Uttarakhand, the home state of Mr Koshyari, and said he had “genes of a political worker”.
He stated that such “instructions” by the governor could stoke a new controversy and are damaging to the democratic parliamentary procedures.
Mr Koshyari had recently written to the Chief Minister asking him to convene a special session of the state legislature.
In his letter, the Chief Minister said he had noted Mr Koshyari’s concerns about the safety of women.
“I can understand your feelings for calling a special session of the Maharashtra Assembly against the backdrop of the Sakinaka incident in Mumbai. You have the genes of a political worker. However, the instructions given by you could stoke a new controversy,” Mr Thackeray wrote.
A 34-year-old woman was allegedly raped inside a tempo parked by the road in the Sakinaka area in Mumbai earlier this month.
The accused, a 45-year-old man, tortured the victim with a rod. The woman died during treatment at a hospital.
“It is damaging to parliamentary democratic procedures that governor also makes the same demand being made by those who are opposing the state government. The state is taking firm steps to curb such incidents,” the Chief Minister said.
He listed crimes against women in BJP-ruled states and territories including Delhi, where the central government controls the police, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
“Uttarakhand, your home state, is also known as Devbhoomi. The government data shows that attacks on women have been increased by 150 per cent. Can a special session be called there?” Mr Thackeray asked.
He wrote that 14,229 women had gone missing in neighbouring Gujarat, ruled by the BJP, in the last two years.
“The Gujarat police report says that at least 14 women daily face rape or sexual assault. Going by such high numbers, Gujarat would need at least a month-long session,” he said.
“Despite many attacks on women in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has not made any demand for a special session,” Mr Thackeray wrote.
The Raj Bhavan and the Sena-led coalition government share frosty relations as the governor has not yet approved a list of 12 names sent by the state government for their nomination as Member of Legislative Council from the gubernatorial quota.
Last year, the governor – a veteran of the BJP’s ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and a former National Vice-President of the party – had written a letter to the Chief Minister demanding the immediate re-opening of places of worship and mockingly asked if Uddhav Thackeray had turned “secular”.
The chief minister had responded by questioning the governor’s belief in secularism and said “Isn’t secularism a key component of the Constitution, by which you swore while taking oath as the state governor?”
(With inputs from PTI)