Mumbai: In an incident that would put him in his first embarrassing situation as Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan on Friday showed disrespect to the National Anthem at a programme here marked to remember the terror attacks in in 2008.
At an event near the Gateway of India where scores had gathered to pay their respects to the martyrs of 26/11, Chavan walked away with his group even as the National Anthem started playing during the closing of the event.
Chavan was followed by Maharashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre and Milind Deora as he left quickly to attend another function nearby.
He not only stepped down from the podium but, even as rest of the attendees stood up to the tune of ‘Jana Gana Mana…’, Chavan greeted those present at the front and hurriedly made an exit.
Chavan denied having insulted the National Anthem. "I did not hear the National Anthem. When I heard it, I stopped at the place and left only after it was over," he said.
Home Minister R R Patil said he was not aware of Chavan insulting the National Anthem.
"The programme was slated to begin at 6.30 pm. Accordingly, all were there," he said.
"I am not aware of any such incident. No minister, least of all the CM, would even imagine insulting the national anthem," Patil said.
BJP state unit president Sudhir Mungantiwar demanded that Chavan tender an apology for allegedly insulting the national anthem.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said a criminal case should be lodged against Chavan over the incident.
- PTI inputs