Large parts of Pune, including several wholesale markets, observed a ‘shutdown’ on Tuesday to protest against the repeated vilification of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and other icons, with renewed calls for the ouster of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT), Nationalist Congress Party, several Marath organisations and the royal descendent Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale took part in a ‘silent march’ from the Deccan to Lal Mahal areas of the city.
The processionists sported saffron flags and black banners, posters condemning the continuous insults of the Chhatrapati and other great personalities even as the ruling Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party and Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena kept off the agitation.
The leaders of the marchers like Bhosale, Sushma Andhare and others demanded the removal of the Governor and action against all those who keep referring to the great icons in a derogatory manner hurting the sentiments of the people.
Wending its way peacefully through various residential and commercial areas of the city, the processionists condemned the Governor and others who speak ill of the revered personalities in various fora.
The MVA has also rejected the Governor’s letter (December 6) clarifying his position to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and said he has not apologised for his remarks against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj or Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and has lost the moral right to continue in his post.
Among other things in his letter, Koshyari said that he “cannot even dream” of insulting the great personalities as contended and sought Shah’s “guidance” in the matter.
The state has been rocked by a series of agitations and protests against the Governor for his recent utterances that riled the state polity and top leaders also objected to him sharing the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Nagpur on Sunday.
Besides the Governor, other BJP leaders like state ministers Chandrakant Patil, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Union Minister Raosaheb Danve, have been accused of making objectionable statements against the state’s icons, though Lodha subsequently retracted his utterances while and Patil apologised.