‘Shivaji Maharaj is our God’: Gadkari’s bid to end row over Koshyari’s comment

‘Shivaji Maharaj is our God’: Gadkari’s bid to end row over Koshyari’s comment

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari broke his silence over the row over Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s comments on Shivaji, in a bid to appease ally Eknath Shinde.

“Shivaji Maharaj is our god…We revere him even more than our parents,” Gadkari said.

Gadkari’s comment came after an MLA of Chief Minister Shinde’s Shiv Sena, Sanjay Gaikwad, demanded that Koshyari be moved out of Maharashtra for his remarks.

Also read: Pack Governor Koshiyari off: Eknath Shinde to ally BJP

Koshyari targeted

“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,” the MLA said.

Koshyari had complimented Gadkari a couple of days ago while describing Shivaji as an outdated icon.

Koshyari, while conferring honorary doctorates on Gadkari and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar on Saturday, had said: “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.”

This stoked a controversy as Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and the NCP accusing the governor of demeaning Maharashtra by equating Shivaji with the BJP leader. Thackeray’s Sena also slammed Eknath Shinde faction for its “silence” over the comments.

Trivedi’s faux pax

BJP’s national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi then added fuel to fire by saying that Shivaji had written five letters to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Trivedi was attempting to attack the Congress and Rahul Gandhi over the latter’s comment on Savarkar.

This forced Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis — who had attacked Gandhi over the Savarkar comment — to declare that ’till the moon and sun are there… Maharashtra’s icon will always be Chhatrapati Shivaji maharaj…”

Also read: Koshiyari’s contentious statement on Shivaji kicks up a storm in Maharashtra

Saamana attack

An editorial in the Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana on Monday attacked the governor and asked why Chief Minister Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis were both silent on the Shivaji “insult” after railing at Rahul Gandhi’s Savarkar comments last week.

“The governor’s statement can’t be a personal opinion, and if it’s his personal opinion, then Rahul Gandhi’s statement can also be his personal opinion. The Shinde and Fadnavis government doesn’t have the guts to oppose the governor. 11 crore population of Maharashtra also have a ‘personal opinion’ that whoever insults Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj will have to apologize in front of the state,” Saamana said.

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