Devendra Fadnavis pledges full security to Ghulam Ali in Mumbai

Mumbai: Days after ally Shiv Sena forced the cancellation of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis virtually extended an invitation to the ghazal maestro on Thursday, saying his government will ensure foolproof security if he still wishes to perform in the city. “Last time the event did not happen because the organisers backed out. But if Ghulam Ali ji wants to perform again in Mumbai or Maharashtra, we will ensure foolproof security for him,” Fadnavis said at the India Today conclave here. “We will not hesitate to put behind bars and prosecute anybody, even somebody from our party or our friends who break the law. When Ghulam Aliji was to perform in Mumbai, we had announced full security for him. But before we could formally communicate with them, they decided to back out,” Fadnavis said.

In a veiled attack on the Sena, Fadnavis said it is wrong to relate Ghulam Ali to any religion or a country, as he is an artist. Fadnavis said the state government’s decision to provide security for former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri’s book launch should not be seen as endorsing his views. “It is not that we are giving him (Kasuri) security as we endorse his views. But, despite all opposition, we had to provide him security as it was our ‘Raj Dharma’. Despite threats, we managed to get his book launch done without any security problems,” he said.

Seeking to playdown the aggressive posturing of Sena towards the Government despite being a partner in it, Fadnavis said the two parties are working in tandem with each other without any “problems” and comments made (by Sena) in Marathi are often misunderstood by the national media. “Both parties are a part of the state cabinet. But, we have never taken split decisions. We are always together. Comments made in Marathi are misunderstood by the national media. Thus, talks of rifts crop up. As far as the government is concerned, we are working without any problems,” Fadnavis added.

Sena’s mouthpiece “Saamna” frequently carries stinging editorials directed against the BJP and the policies and programmes of the Government at the Centre and in the state.