Sardesai: The ill-advised decision to ban meat in Mumbai for four days. Yes, similar attempts to ban the sale of meat…have been made in the past…but your government tried to widen its ambit to well beyond the Mumbai suburb of Mira-Bhayandar.
Fadnavis: My state government did not take the decision to ban meat…The Congress government in 2004 took the decision to close a slaughter-house for two days in Paryushan Parva. Since then all municipal corporations, including Mira-Bhayandar, started implementing it. Surprisingly, none of you ever objected to it until we came to power.
Sardesai: Mumbai’s police commissioner Rakesh Maria was suddenly transferred out less than a month before he was due a promotion. That the transfer was done while Mr Maria was investigating the high-profile Sheena Bora murder case makes it even more suspicious.
Fadnavis: You seem to be confused. Your post-script says the Sheena Bora murder case should not have assumed the kind of importance it was accorded by the media. Then why did you choose to write on it, linking it with the transfer of the city police chief? A police chief is not an investigating officer but just a supervisory authority.
Sardesai: Perplexing decision taken by your government is its recent circular on guidelines to be followed by the police while making arrests on sedition charges. The circular says “words, signs or representations to be treated as seditious if they are against a person who is shown to be a representative of the government”.
Fadnavis: An affidavit was filed by the then Congress-led government and the court delivered a detailed judgment interpreting the scope and ambit of the applicability of sedition…The department made a faithful translation of the judgment in Marathi and conveyed it to all the police stations…Mr Sardesai, you may not want to go through such details to understand the issue just because you wish to pursue your leftist agenda vigorously and passionately.
Sardesai: First, it was Vidarbha; now Marathwada is staring at drought-like conditions. More than 600 farmers have committed suicide since January this year after successive failed crops. Drinking water is scarcely available and the tanker mafias are holding sway.
Sardesai: May I urge you to spend the next few months singularly focusing on the needs of farmers of Maharashtra. Don’t worry about the food on my plate…the agony of the farmer should give you sleepless nights.
Fadnavis: The infamous legacy of farmer suicides, which we inherited from 15 years of bad governance, is a challenge that doesn’t let me sleep. But the initiatives started by our government, I’m sure, will deliver results in due course.
Sardesai: Farmers can’t even sell their ageing cattle because of the ill-conceived beef ban.
Fadnavis: Whether there is a ban on meat or not, a common man expects roti or rice in his plate. And I am more concerned about it than anything else. Mr Sardesai, the content of your letter can be part of your profession but the resolve in my reply is my mission and I will accomplish it.
Sardesai: Only a small group of Brahmins in Maharashtra are pure vegetarian…The people of Maharashtra did not vote for the imposition of the cultural agenda of the RSS, including any forcible attempt to dictate what can be cooked in the kitchen in the name of Bharatiya sanskriti.
Fadnavis: It’s really sad to see that people like you get disturbed by an imaginary situation that there won’t be a piece of meat in your platter for two days when my annadata is taking extreme steps because he has no food to eat.
You may read Rajdeep Sardesai’s open letter here, and Devendra Fadnavis’ response to the same.