Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari kicked up a major row with his statements on the Maratha warrior-king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the saint-poet Swami Samarth Ramdas with politicians, cutting across party lines, slamming him and demanding an apology.
At an event in Aurangabad on Sunday, Koshyari referred to Swami Samarth Ramdas as the ‘guru’ of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj while talking on how ‘gurus’ are important in Indian culture.
The development came a few days ahead of the Budget Session of the Legislature, starting here on Thursday, and charged up the political atmosphere.
Leaders from across the political spectrum – including the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and its Rajya Sabha MP Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale of Satara – a direct descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj – attacked the Governor for his lack of knowledge and history.
Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut asked the BJP to take a stand and clarify on the issue immediately.
“There is huge resentment in Maharashtra over the Governor’s statements. The BJP should clarify or take a stand,” Raut demanded.
Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule – daughter of NCP President Sharad Pawar – said there is no historical evidence to prove that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Swami Samarth Ramdas had a ‘guru-shishya’ relationship.
She cited a judgement of Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad Bench of July 2018, when the then state government had submitted that “no record was available to show that Shivaji Maharaj had occasion to meet Swami Samarth Ramdas” or that he treated the latter as his ‘guru’.
She referred to a speech of Pawar wherein he had stated that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s ‘guru’ was never Swami Samarth Ramdas, but his own mother, Rajmata Jijabai.
State Congress President Nana Patole said that Governor Koshyari has insulted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the people of Maharashtra and should immediately tender an apology for his remarks, and wondered why the BJP “is silent”.
“The people of Maharashtra will not tolerate this slur by Koshyari and his trying to contort history. He has lost the moral right to continue as Governor and the Centre should recall him,” he demanded.
The Governor, while speaking on the significance of ‘gurus’, mentioned how the great political strategist Chanakya had a big influence on the life of the legendary Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, the founder-ruler of one of the biggest empires in the subcontinent, and asked “who would have spoken about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had there been no Samarth (Ramdas)”.
NCP MLA Rohit Pawar said if the Governor’s statement was intended to push an “agenda” with false history without understanding the true version, that it must be condemned and the Governor should tender an apology.
“RashtraMata Jijabai was the actual ‘guru’ of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Sant Ramdas was never his ‘guru’, that is the real history. Yet, Governor Koshyari has cited incorrect history in this regard,” said Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale.
When contacted by media for his reactions, BJP state President Chandrakant Patil diplomatically stated: “No comments.”