New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Governor Bhagat Singh Kothyari were engaged in a bitter exchange of word over the reopening of places of worship in the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Responding to a letter by Koshiyari who questioned Thackeray's Hindutva credentials for delay in the opening of religious places in the state, Maharashtra CM shot back saying he is an ardent follower of Hindutva and doesn't a certificate from him.

"As imposing lockdown all of a sudden was not right, revoking it completely at once will also be not a good thing. And yes, I am someone who follows Hindutva, my Hindutva doesn't need verification from you," he said.

"Do you mean that opening up religious places is Hindutva, and not opening them means being secular? Secularism is a crucial base of the oath you took as Governor. Do you not believe it?" he added.

Referring to actor Kangana Ranaut without naming her, Mr Thackeray added that "inviting people who call Mumbai PoK with smiles does not fall into my definition of Hindutva".

On Monday, the Governor wrote to Uddhav Thackeray seeking re-opening of places of worship with COVID precautions. "I wonder if you're receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing re-opening or you've suddenly turned 'secular' yourselves, the term you hated?" letter stated.

Maharashtra''s COVID-19 tally rose to 15,35,315 on Monday with the addition of 7,089 fresh cases, state health department said. The state had reported 10,792 fresh cases on Sunday. With 165 patients succumbing to the infection, the overall toll mounted to 40,514, it said. Of the 165 deaths, 100 occurred in the past 48 hours, while 21 had taken place last week. Remaining 44 fatalities had occurred before the last week, the department said.

Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha