Sanjay Gaikwad, an MLA of the Eknath Shinde-led faction of Shiv Sena on Monday demanded that Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari be shifted out of the state for describing 17th century Maratha ruler Shivaji as an icon of “olden times”, reported PTI.
The Shinde-led faction called the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena is part of the ruling coalition along with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“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,” Gaikwad said on Monday. “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.”
Koshyari had made the comments on Shivaji at an event at the Dr Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad on November 19.
“Earlier, when you would be asked who is your icon – Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, and Mahatma Gandhi used to be the answer...Whereas in Maharashtra, you need not look elsewhere since there are so many icons here,” Koshyari had said. “While Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is of olden times, there are icons such as Ambedkar and Nitin Gadkari in modern times.”
Koshyari’s remarks were criticised by Opposition parties in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray had described the governor’s remarks as insulting and totally unacceptable. Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar had demanded that the governor should step down from his post.
On Sunday, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed that the Opposition has misconstrued the statements made by Koshyari. He had added that Shivaji will forever remain a hero and idol of Maharashtra and the country.
On Monday, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also defended Koshyari’s statement.
“Shivaji Maharaj is our god,” Gadkari said, according to NDTV. “We revere him even more than our parents.”