Protests continued for the second day on Monday against Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for certain remarks and comparisons he made about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj last weekend.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena (UBT), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena staged full-throated demonstrations in different parts of the state while the Congress has demanded Koshyari’s recall though the ruling alliance Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena raised objections and the Bharatiya Janata Party defended him.
At a function in Aurangabad, the Governor referred to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as ‘an icon of the old era’ and then termed the late Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and the current Union Minister Nitin Gadkari as ‘modern-day icons’, sparking a furore in the state political circles.
In his speech, the Governor said: “In the past, when you are asked who is your icon, the answer used to be Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose or Mahatma Gandhi. But in Maharashtra, you don’t need to look far… there are many icons here. While Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharajs was (an icon) of the olden times, in modern times there are Ambedkar and Nitin Gadkari.”
In Mumbai, NCP staged a demonstration near Raj Bhavan, while in Pune, a ‘duplicate’ masquerading as the 80-year-old Koshyari was ‘targetted’ with his ‘dhoti’ symbolically torn off in protest.
Others have carried out protests beating Koshyari’s poster’s with chappals, defacing it black paint/ink, demanding that he should be sent back to his home-state or to an old-age home
Similar actions were witnessed in other cities in the state while top leaders like Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, Nana Patole, Supriya Sule, Bhai Jagtap, etc. have slammed the Governor for his remarks.
Patole, NCP’s National Spokesperson Clyde Crasto and Sena (UBT) leaders like Sanjay Raut or Arvind Sawant, MNS’ Gajanan Kale, have criticised the Governor, and several demanded his immediate recall pointing out that even in the past, he had made controversial statements that hurt sentiments of the people of this state.
Other organisations like Sambhaji Brigade, Maratha Kranti Morcha, Jijau Brigade, the direct descendents of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj – Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje – have strongly castigated the Governor for his utterances.
Caught in an embarrassing situation, BJP’s Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis sought to defend the Governor saying as long as there is the Sun and Moon, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj will be the idol of Maharashtra and there are no arguments over this.
“Even the Governor has no doubts on this and his remarks can be interpreted in different ways,” claimed Fadnavis.