Mumbai: Maharashtra Congress today alleged that the "affiliation" of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh prevented him from visting the August Kranti Maidan to pay homage to martyrs of India's freedom struggle.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Sachin Sawant told reporters that the Non-Cooperation Movement and Quit India agitation launched against the British remain milestones in freedom struggle.
"However, RSS' opposition to the Quit India movement made Fadnavis avoid the event," Sawant alleged.
"The Quit India movement was launched in Mumbai (on August 9, 1942) and Maharashtra is proud of it. Chief Ministers of Maharashtra have always taken time out to visit the martyrs' memorial at Gowalia Tank (known as the August Kranti Maidan), to pay their respects," Sawant said.
Fadnavis had skipped the visit on the movement's anniversary yesterday, inviting criticism from Opposition Congress and NCP. Instead, he attended an anniversary-related function in his hometown Nagpur, where he unveiled a memorial built as a mark of respect to more than 100 freedom fighters who laid down their lives during the freedom struggle.
Sawant said if Fadnavis wished to toe the line of RSS, with which he is "affiliated", then he should resign and pave the way for the organisation's chief Mohan Bhagwat to take over as the chief minister.
Sawant claimed ever since the BJP has come to power in the state and at the Centre, its parent organisation RSS, has been trying to influence important policy-making institutions.
He said after the Congress returns to power after the next state Assembly polls, it would curb attempts by "communal" elements like the RSS to infiltrate the administrative machinery of a secular country.
Fadnavis, however, yesterday rejected the Opposition's criticism and said they have no constructive work to do.
"I am in Nagpur today and busy inaugurating a new 'Shaheed Smarak' to commemorate the Kranti Divas. Opposition's claims are untrue and devoid of facts. They have no other constructive work to do, and hence, are indulging in baseless allegations," Fadnavis had told PTI.