Name ‘Missing’ on Invite, Uddhav Skips PM Modi’s Award Event; Minister Slams ‘Insult to Maharashtra’

The function for the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award, conferred on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has snowballed into a political row after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray skipped the event and instead visited the home of an 80-year-old Shiv Sainik.

Chandrabhaga Shinde, 80, was protesting outside Matoshree against independent MLA Ravi Rana and MP Navneet Rana who had announced they would recite the Hanuman Chalisa at Thackeray’s residence, triggering protests in the city.

Shinde not only shouted slogans at the top of her voice during the protest but also went viral for showing a ‘don’t mess with me’ action made famous as that of defiance in the recent multi-lingual film blockbuster ‘Pushpa: The Rise’.

Leaders of the Sena said the chief minister had enquired about Shinde’s health when he spoke to her on Saturday. A day later, Uddhav Thackeray, his wife Rashmi and sons Aaditya and Tejas arrived at Shinde’s one-room tenement in Crescent Bay building in Parel, a Sena stronghold, and spoke to her.

Giving indication of what could have possibly miffed the chief minister, housing minister Jitendra Awhad said the Mangeshkar family had skipped adding Uddhav Thackeray’s name in the invitation card for the award ceremony, which was an “insult to 12 crore residents of Maharashtra”.

“The Mangeshkar family avoided mentioning the name of the Chief Minister on the invitation card of the Lata Mangeshkar Award Ceremony. Their role is incomprehensible. This act of the Mangeshkars is an insult to 12 crore Marathi people,” Awhad tweeted.

PM Modi was honoured with the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar award instituted after the late singing legend on Sunday. The awards in various fields were nurtured and conferred for 32 years by the late Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar who passed away here on February 6.

After receiving the award, an emotional prime minister said Lata Mangeshkar was like an elder sister. He said, “For me, Lata didi was like an elder sister. I have always received immense love from her. After many decades, Lata didi will not be present in the coming Rakhi festival.”

PM Modi dedicated the award to all his countrymen. “When the award is in the name of an elder sister like Lata Didi, it is a symbol of her oneness and love for me. So, it’s not possible for me to not accept it.”

The Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award shall be given to only one individual every year, as decided by the family trustees, and the inaugural honour shall be conferred on the PM in the Special Individual category.

Veteran actors Asha Parekh and Jackie Shroff received the Master Deenanath Puraskar (special honour) for their “dedicated services in the field of cinema”. Rahul Deshpande got the Master Deenanath Puraskar for Indian music, while the best drama award was given to the play, “Sanjay Chaya”.

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