Amid a row over Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari’s remarks about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday stepped in to douse flames between BJP and its ally, the Eknath Shinde Shiv Sena faction. In a tweet in Marathi, Gadkari said “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is our God”.
“Shivaji Maharaj is our god…We revere him even more than our parents,” Gadkari said.
The remarks by Gadkari came amid huge protests by the Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray camp, Congress and NCP in Mumbai and other cities demanding the ouster of the governor. Protests were held in Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, and Aurangabad.
READ | CM Shinde Camp MLA Wants Maha Guv To Be ‘Sent Somewhere Else’ For Remarks On Chhatrapati Shivaji
Earlier in the day, MLA Sanjay Gaikwad of Eknath Shinde’s Sena faction demanded that Koshyari be shifted out of the state.
“The governor should understand that the ideals of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj never age and he cannot be compared to any other great person in the world. My request to BJP leaders at the Centre is that a person who does not know the history of the state and how it functions, be sent somewhere else,” PTI quoted the MLA as saying.
BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Udayanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, also demanded the ouster of the governor. Bhosale said he would decide his future course of action if no decision was taken on his demand, PTI reported.
The row erupted after Koshyari called Shivaji a ‘hero of the past era’ and Gadkari a moden-day ‘hero’ at an event last week in in Aurangabad.
“Earlier, when you were asked who your icon is, the answers would be Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi. In Maharashtra, you need not look elsewhere (as) there are so many icons here. While Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is icon of the olden days, now there are BR Ambedkar and Nitin Gadkari,” the Maharashtra Governor had said on Saturday.
The row intensified after BJP’s national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said Shivaji had written five letters to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb during a TV debate.
On Sunday, Maharashtra deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis appeared to defend the governor.
“One thing is clear Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj will remain a hero and idol of Maharashtra and our country till the Sun and the Moon exist. Even Koshyari had no doubts about this in his mind. Thus, there are various meanings derived from the remarks made by the governor,” Fadnavis had said.