A day after a state Bharatiya Janata Party minister drew parallels between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the Opposition Shiv Sena (UBT) on Thursday staged noisy protests in Mumbai and other parts condemning the remarks, here.
Led by MP Arvind Sawant and others, the protesters shouted slogans against BJP Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha for his comments at a function in Satara’s Pratapgad Fort on Wednesday.
“They have no historical knowledge… We will present them copies of history Class IV textbook… It will enlighten them a bit on the Chhatrapati’s glorious history,” said Sawant, who was detained along with many protesters by the Mumbai Police.
Lodha’s utterances were strongly condemned on Wednesday by Nationalist Congress Party’s Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, Congerss Legislative Party Leader Balasaheb Thorat, Sena (UBT) leader and ex-minister Aditya Thackeray and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut, while a large number of NCP activists staged protests in different parts last evening.
Caught on the backfoot, the ruling Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’s Minister Uday Sawant and ally BJP attempted to play down Lodha’s remarks claiming he was merely citing an example, amid the onslaught by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
Lodha himself attempted to make a clean breast saying he had compared a factual historical incident of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s feat with Shinde’s rebellion from the erstwhile Shiv Sena.
The fresh fracas ignited after Lodha recalled the Chhatrapati’s fabled escape from the Agra Fort (1666) – where he was imprisoned by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb – with the 2022 political rebellion against the Shiv Sena by Eknath Shinde – who later became the Chief Minister – though the latter had gone on record that he quit the party on his own volition.
The MVA leaders have accused the BJP of “running a competition’ to “malign” Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Maharashtra, citing the recent instances of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, BJP Spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, and now a state minister Lodha.