Written byGarima Bora ·
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis today skipped the annual puja at the Lord Vitthal Temple in the state's Pandharpur town due to protest threats by Marathas.
Fadnavis performed the puja at his home in Mumbai around 4 am.
Some Maratha community leaders had threatened to disrupt Fadnavis's visit to Pandharpur today if their demands, including reservation in government jobs and education, are not accepted.
As part of a long-standing tradition, the sitting CM of Maharashtra every year offers prayers at the temple dedicated to Lord Vitthal and Rukmini at Pandharpur in Solapur district, located around 400km from Mumbai, on the occasion of "Ashadhi Ekadashi".
The auspicious day of the Pandharpur puja is decided as per the lunar calendar and this year it falls today.
After the CM performs the puja, everyone else gets entry into the temple and prayers continue for the next few months.
Later, a similar puja is performed by the Deputy CM or the second-in-rank in the state cabinet on the occasion of "Kartik Ekadashi".
Ekadashi marks the culmination of a pilgrimage, called "waari", that devotees undertake from across Maharashtra state on foot to reach the temple town of Pandharpur in western Maharashtra.
In view of the protest threats, Fadnavis, who had been performing the puja at the temple for the last three years, yesterday canceled his visit.
Explaining the reason for calling off his visit, Fadnavis had said he feared for the lives of nearly 10 lakh people expected to be at the temple town (Pandharpur) in Solapur today on the occasion of "Ashadhi Ekadashi".
Fadnavis said that only the court can take a decision on the issue of grant of reservation to the Maratha community.
Maratha community leaders had earlier taken out several rallies in various districts to highlight their demands.
Last year, a huge rally was organized in this connection in Mumbai. Despite assurances from Fadnavis, nothing concrete has been done till now, community leaders have claimed.
Meanwhile, in Pandharpur, a farmer couple from Maharashtra's Hingoli district performed the traditional puja along with senior state cabinet ministers and Solapur district guardian minister Vijay Deshmukh in the temple's sanctum sanctorum.
Love India news?
Subscribe to stay updated.