Shivaji remarks row: Descendants warn of Maharashtra shutdown unless Governor Koshyari removed from post

Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

Expressing regret for not apologizing over the controversial statements made by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the descendants of the 17th century Maratha King have asked strict action and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove him from the post.

While BJP MP Udayanraje Bhosale met Mr. Modi on Friday on the issue, Sambhaji Chhatrapati warned of Maharashtra bandh unless Mr. Koshyari was removed from his post soon.

Speaking in Delhi after his meeting with the PM, Mr. Bhosale said that the Maharashtra Governor’s statements called for a swift solution.

While unwilling to criticize his party, the BJP, he said: “Action will be taken as per the procedure. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aware of the gravity of the matter. All the MPs from Maharashtra who met Mr. Modi today are unanimous about action against the Governor,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Bhosale defended the BJP, remarking: “The BJP did not tell the Governor to make such statements. The party cannot be held responsible for his remarks. It is regrettable that the governor has not apologized till now.”

The royal from Satara informed that after the Governor’s insulting’s remarks, a letter was written to the President, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister on November 23.

“The President’s secretary has sent a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on this matter. A letter has also been sent to the PM’s office. There is a feeling that there should be no quarrels and rifts over this issue as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is an identity of Maharashtra as well as that of the country’s,” said Mr. Bhosale.

Mr. Koshyari is facing opprobrium from the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) parties for calling the Maratha king “an icon for older times” during a function in the State’s Aurangabad district last month.

This led to both royals slamming the Governor and demanding his removal from the Governor’s post.

Mr. Bhosale’s fellow royal from Kolhapur, Sambhaji Chhatrapati lashed out at Mr. Koshyari’s reticence to tender an apology despite ‘insulting’ the warrior king twice. “Such a governor has no right to stay in Maharashtra and should be expelled immediately,” said the former BJP MP, speaking in Pimpri on Thursday.

He also expressed the possibility of “a planned conspiracy” behind the Governor’s repeatedly insulting statements about Maharashtra’s great personalities like Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule.

During his speech at the Dr. Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad in the presence of Union Minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari in November, Mr. Koshyari had said that while Chhatrapati Shivaji was an “icon for an earlier era”, Mr. Gadkari was an icon for the modern generation.  

This is not the first time Mr. Koshyari– who has frequently been accused by the MVA as a partisan of the BJP – has courted controversy from his remarks on Chhatrapati Shivaji. 

Earlier this year, the Governor was slammed by the MVA for allegedly mocking 19th-century social reformers Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule for “getting married at a young age”. He also stoked controversy when he said Samarth Ramdas was Chhatrapati Shivaji’s ‘guru’ contrary to historical evidence.

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