Anti-Gandhi tweets: Maharashtra IAS officer transferred

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Monday transferred Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Joint Municipal Commissioner (Special) Nidhi Choudhari to Mantralaya, and served her a show-cause notice, official sources said here.

The official had tweeted disrespectfully about Mahatama Gandhi in a recent post.

An officer of 2012 batch of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Choudhari has now been posted as Deputy Secretary in the Water Supply and Sanitation Department in the state headquarters, in an apparent fallout of her tweets against Mahatma Gandhi.

She has also been asked to explain her position with regard to her posts on Twitter that have embarrassed the government and prompted Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take a strong view of the incident.

Following a massive political furore, the state came down heavily on Choudhari for her tweet of May 17, which she deleted on May 31, claiming it was of a “sarcastic nature”.

In a rare development late on Sunday, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar personally wrote to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding “exemplary punishment” for Choudhari who had insulted a national icon by her remarks and also sought to glorify the Mahatma’s assassin Nathuram Godse.

On May 17, Choudhari had tweeted: “What an exceptional celebration of 150th birth anniversary year is going on… High time, we removed his face from our currency, his statues from across the world, rename institutions/roads named after him! That would be a real tribute to all of us! ThankU #Godse for 30.01.1948.”

NCP leader Jitendra Awhad and others have demanded her suspension and as the issue snowballed into a mega-controversy, Choudhari was compelled, on May 31, to backtrack on her controversial tweet.

“I have deleted my tweet of 17.05.2019 w.r.t. Gandhiji because some people misunderstood it. If only they had followed my timeline since 2011, they would’ve understood that I would NEVER even dream of insulting Gandhiji. I bow before him with deepest regard and will do so till last breath,” she tweeted.

Late on Sunday, unaware of the transfer looming over her head, Choudhari claimed in a Facebook Hindi post that “it is because of me that people today remember Gandhiji.”

Taking pains to clarify her earlier Twitter remarks as “sarcastic”, Choudhari said she “never imagined that people would remember Gandhiji because I had insulted him”, adding she had no intention of vilifying the Father of the Nation in any manner.

“I feel extremely pained at the manner in which it has been misrepresented,” she said in her Facebook post.

A large number of NCP activists, mainly women, sat in protest outside the BMC headquarters since Monday morning, demanding action against Choudhari, but they dispersed by the evening.