MUMBAI: Maharashtra PWD minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan on Saturday sought to know whether Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut's statement that those opposing the Bharat Ratna for V D Savarkar must spend two days in Andaman's infamous Cellular Jail, was the official stand of the Sena.
Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Raut had said "Savarkar's opponents should spend two days in the (erstwhile) Andaman Cellular Jail to understand the hardships he was put through by the British".
Within hours of the statement, the Congress hit back with its state spokesperson Sachin Sawant tweeting "Savarkar was different before 1911. Congress is against his post- 1923 ideology."
Speaking to reporters amid the row, Chavan said it needed to ascertained if Raut's statement was the official line of the Shiv Sena.
"(Sena leader) Aaditya Thackeray has already reacted to Raut's remarks stating he was not aware in which capacity Raut had made the remarks that those who oppose Bharat Ratna to Savarkar be sent to Andaman jail," Chavan told reporters.
The former chief minister said the Congress stand on the issue is known, "but it is not known whether Raut's comments were Shiv Sena's stand".
"Somebody's personal comments cannot be the stand of the government. There is no need to give a reaction to somebody's personal comments," Chavan added.
He said Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government, formed by Sena, NCP and Congress, works on a common minimum programme and all parties would continue to stick to it.
Queried on the nightlife policy espoused by state tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray, Chavan said it was a "test case", adding that Mumbai was an international city with global potential.
Thackeray on Saturday said shops, malls and eateries in non-residential areas of Mumbai will have the option of remaining open 24x7 from January 26, although it will not be made compulsory.
"This is a test case. Mumbai is an international city of global potential. We need to get more tourists and improve trade and commerce. This will be implemented on an experimental basis.
"If no new issues come up and the policy of shops, establishments and malls being open 24/7 is implemented well, there is no harm in continuing with it. Lets see the response. If things work out, it is good," Chavan said.
Asked about Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's opposition to the proposed Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project, Chavan said the state could do without experiments.
"We do not want experiments. Maharashtra does not have money to carry out experiments. We don't need a bullet train either. Our priority should be to efficiently run local trains," Chavan said.
Meanwhile, Chavan himself pulled down an illegal banner put up by a Congress worker in his home town Nanded.
The banner with Chavan's photograph was put up in violation of the orders of the local civic body.
"I will not allow illegal banners to come up in the city. Due to such illegal banners, the city's landscape is defaced," the former MP said.