INDIA. Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari sparked yet another controversy when he described the great Maratha emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as an icon of old times and urged students to take inspiration from the new generation’s icons.
Addressing the convocation function of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedar Marathwada University in Aurangabad on Saturday, Koshyari said that Shivaji is an old icon. We should not look into history. Now we have icons like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, and Dr. Nitin Gadkari. The students should take inspiration from them.
However, Koshyari’s remarks evoked angry protests across Maharashtra on Sunday, and activists of different parties defaced his effigy, and a host of leaders bitterly criticised him and opined that he should be called back by the centre.
MNS Chief Raj Thackeray said in a statement that since Koshyari holds a constitutional post, the people are reluctant to speak against him. He should understand the implication of his utterances in public.
Now that the elections are around the corner, if he is making these comments at the behest of someone, he should not vitiate the atmosphere in Maharashtra by making such statements.
Shivaji’s lineal descendant and BJP MLA from Satara, Shivendra Raje Bhosale, said that Koshyari has made controversial statements about Shivaji Mahraj, Mahatma Phule, and Savitribai Phule earlier too. The president should call him back immediately. It is not clear why a person making irresponsible statements has been kept as the Governor of Maharashtra.
NCP leaders, MLAs Ajit Pawar, Chhajan Bhujbal, and MP Supriya Sule, echoed similar sentiments, saying that he should either apologise or be called back immediately by the center. Santosh Shinde of the Samhaji Brigade too condemned Koshyari’s comments, saying that Shivaji will continue to inspire generations to come.
However, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tried to downplay Koshyaris’ remarks, saying that they were blown out of proportion. Koshyari may not have anything on his mind. “Shivaji will be our guiding force till eternity,” he added.
BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi added fuel to the fire when he said that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had apologised to Mughal King Afzal Khan many times. Reacting to this, Bhujbal said that Rajput kings came from Delhi and conquered Shivaji’s fort. But Shivaji reconquered them. If Shivaji ever wrote a letter to Afzal Khan, it had to be part of his diplomacy.