While the opposition demanded his sacking as minister, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis rushed to his colleague’s rescue.
Mahajan, who hails from Jamner constituency in Jalgaon, had targeted the former Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government during the irrigation scam while he was in the opposition.
Mahajan said it was a licensed revolver which he has been carrying for the past 25 years for self-defence, but the opposition was unconvinced by his reply.
“I have the licence for it since 25 years. Anyone can check that I have never indulged in any kind of violence. I have never even pointed it at anybody, it’s merely for self-defence,” Mahajan said in the assembly on Monday.
However, he admitted that the revolver was visible while tucked in his waist, as video clips of the event went viral over social media networks.
“What is the need to carry a revolver to a school function for differently-abled children? What message must have gone to the kids? Besides, if the ministers feel unsafe, then what about the common masses,” NCP leader Jayant Patil told reporters.
Fadnavis said though licensed arms are meant to be carried, they cannot be shown while in public.
“There was no intention to threaten anybody or create any scare. There is absolutely nothing illegal in carrying a licensed firearm,” Fadnavis said in a statement in the house after the opposition staged a walkout in protest.
The chief minister endorsed Speaker Haribhau Bagade’s ruling that ministers should not openly expose or use such weapons in public, and assured that a directive to this effect would be issued soon.