MUMBAI: Amid ongoing controversy over Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s comments on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj – an icon of Maratha pride, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ wife Amruta Fadnavis has now come out in his support. Extending her support to the Governor, Amruta said, “I know the Governor personally. He learnt Marathi after coming to Maharashtra. He genuinely loves Marathis. I have experienced this myself. But it has happened many times that he has said something and it was given some other interpretation. But he is a Marathi Manoos at heart.”
This comes at a time when former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads a faction of the Shiv Sena, dubbed Maharashtra Governor Koshyari an ‘Amazon parcel’ sent by the Centre and demanded his recall over his recent remarks on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
BJP MP Udayanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, also slammed Koshyari and wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding his removal from the post even as NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the governor has “crossed all limits”.
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Thackeray said his party may hold a state-wide bandh if no decision is taken on his demand in the next few days, and asked all political parties in Maharashtra to unite against the governor.
Koshyari had found himself amidst a controversy last week over his remarks that Shivaji Maharaj was an icon of “olden days”. Thackeray alleged that Koshyari has been consistently insulting icons from Maharashtra.
“I appeal to the people from various political parties to unite against him and mount pressure on the Union government to recall the governor.
“I will wait for three to five days. During that period, I will contact various political parties in the state to unite against him. I am thinking of holding a peaceful state-wide bandh against Koshyari,” the chief of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) said.
Terming Koshyari an ‘Amazon parcel’ sent by the Union government, Thackeray said, “We do not want this parcel here in Maharashtra. Since we do not want it, you (Centre) should take it back.”
It is assumed that when a party forms a government in the country, the party appoints governors of its own choice in states. However, they (governors) are expected to be politically neutral, he said.
“In the past, Koshyari had passed insulting remarks against social reformers Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule, about Marathi people living in Mumbai and Thane and the latest controversial comment he made was about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Does it mean that Koshyari reflects the Union government’s feelings about these icons? Has the governor’s post become like an old age home?” he asked.
It is time to demonstrate our strong stand against Koshyari, he added. Udayanraje, who targeted Koshyari, also slammed party colleague Sudhanshu Trivedi for his alleged objectionable remarks about the iconic 17th-century king. Trivedi allegedly said that Shivaji Maharaj had apologised to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
“When I heard the governor’s statement about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, I could not understand what was the basis of such a statement,” Bhosale said, adding the king fought for justice and to free people from slavery when all other rulers had accepted Mughal suzerainty.
Bhosale, who on Tuesday wrote to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis seeking action against Koshyari and Trivedi, told reporters in Pune that the concept of modern India was put forth by Shivaji Maharaj.
“He(Shivaji Maharaj) was the inspiration for freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Krantisinh Nana Patil, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Dr Ambedkar. And now these people say the thoughts of Shivaji Maharaj have become old,” he said.
Hitting out at Koshyari, Pawar, a former union minister, said “such people” should not be given crucial posts. “He has crossed all limits. He did praise Shivaji Maharaj yesterday, but it is a late realisation.” “I think the President and the Prime Minister should take a decision (about Koshyari). Such people should not be given crucial posts,” he told reporters in Mumbai.
The post of governor represents an institution and in order to maintain the dignity of that post, we did not comment against Koshyari earlier, the NCP supremo added. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the BJP should make its stand on Shivaji Maharaj clear instead of questioning the Congress over V D Savarkar.
“You always question us on Savarkar. I ask BJP leaders, the Maharashtra governor, and BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, what is the BJP’s stand on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj? What all they have not said about Shivaji Maharaj,” the Congress’s media head said speaking during the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa district.