In a significant development, Maharashtra government has its consent to open places of worship across the state. The issue gained prominence after opposition parties, including the BJP and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari pulled up the state government over the delay in reopening of places of worship.
The Maharashtra government on Saturday also asked people to wear a mask inside places of worship and avoid overcrowding. All places of worship, including temples across the state will open from Monday.
Aadesh Bandekar of Siddhivinayak Trust said that they will get an order for the reopening of the temple by Sunday. A meeting of the Trust will then be called and the temple is likely to reopen from Monday.
Places of worship, including temples in Maharashtra, have been closed since March 17 in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown.
The opposition decided to target Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra in October of this year over the issue. BJP workers gathered outside prominent temples across the state such as the Siddhivinayak in Mumbai, Jogeshwari in Pune and the Sai Baba temple in Shirdi demanding that these be reopened.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, in a letter to CM Uddhav Thackeray, asked the latter whether the delay in reopening of places of worship was due to "divine intervention."
The Governor's letter, in which he made snide remarks aimed at the chief minister by usage of the word "secular" attracted criticism from top political leaders in the state, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar who wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.