Vandalism of Marathi playwright R G Gadkari’s bust, allegedly by a pro-Maratha outfit, is viewed as a bid to create a rift in society ahead of polls by the BJP while its ally Shiv Sena has said the incident is the fallout of “casteist politics” being practised ahead of upcoming municipal polls.
Meanwhile, after the incident occurred in wee hours yesterday, the Maratha strongman and NCP chief Sharad Pawar condemned it this evening, saying, “The battle of thoughts should be fought only with thought. I have not come across any such writing (as alleged by those who vandalised the bust) by Gadkari.”
The bust of the 20th century litterateur was uprooted from its pedestal in a civic garden in Pune and dumped into river, allegedly by activists of Sambhaji Brigade in retaliation to “poor portrayal” of Shivaji Maharaj’s son Sambhaji in a play written by Gadkari, one of the towering figures in Marathi literature.
Addressing a rally in Pune, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the incident was aimed at creating a “rift” in society as elections are round the corner and that his government will find out “real culprits” at whose behest the act was carried out.
Interestingly, in the wake of the incident, Congress MLA and Swabhiman Sanghatna president Nitesh Rane had claimed in a tweet the Maratha group has nothing to do with the vandalism.
Condemning the incident, Sena said, “The incident is the fallout of casteist politics which is being played in view of forthcoming municipal polls.”
In an edit in “Saamana”, Sena said the act went against Maharashtra’s cultural ethos.
“Those who have claimed that Gadkari has insulted Chhatrapati Sambhaji are enemies of Maharashtras social and cultural ethos. Those who have attacked his bust under cover of darkness are enemies of Shivaji’s school of thoughts and are traitors of Maharashtra,” it said.
The party said the incident underlines the state of law and order in Maharashtra.
Fadnavis said, “Four people who executed the act are arrested, however, the government will find out who are the real culprits on whose directions the entire act was carried out.”