Mumbai Police on Friday gave permission to Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) for its protest march in Mumbai on December 17 against the Eknath Shinde government and the Governor of the state- Bhagat Singh Koshiyari over his controversial remark over Chhatrapati Shivaji.
The march is scheduled to culminate in a rally outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Maharaj (CSMT) station, where all the senior opposition leaders, including Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, will address the crowd. NCP chief Sharad Pawar may participate in the rally.
On Thursday, MVA leaders announced that they would go ahead with the protest march regardless of whether permission was given.
Addressing the Press conference Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday had said, “On this 17th Dec, we will hold a ‘Morcha’ from Jijamata Udyan to Azad Maidan in Mumbai against the current state government and demands to remove Maharashtra’s Governor, I appeal to all those who love Maharashtra to come together against those who have insulted the state.”
Uddhav also slammed the state government over the Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue.
Stepping up its attack on the government, Thackeray said, “Karnataka has been asking for our areas, villages and even Jath, Solapur will they ask our Pandarpur Vithoba too? This raises one question-is there any govt in Maharashtra? Like before the Gujarat elections, some businesses were shifted there, so before the Karnataka elections will our villages be given to Karnataka?..”
“See how Karnataka CM statement and there is BJP govt in the state, and CM Shinde become CM here because of BJP, they are not saying anything on the issues and there is an attempt to insult our leaders and icons of Maharashtra so we are doing this aandolan,” Leader of the opposition party Ajit Pawar said.
Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said, “They have insulted Shivaji Maharaj, Jyotiba Phule and keep insulting and even Maharashtra Karnataka border issue and the statement given by Karnataka CM and here no one is replying in strong language from this government. All these issues must be addressed by this govt so we have decided to hold big Morcha.” The controversy erupted in the state after Maharashtra’s Governor said that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was an “old icon”.
Addressing a function at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad on November 19, Governor Koshyari said, “If someone asks who your idol is, you don’t have to go out looking for one. You will find them right here in Maharashtra. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has become an old idol now, you can find new ones from Babasaheb Ambedkar to (Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways) Nitin Gadkari.”
This statement sparked a massive furore and drew censure from Maratha organisations and opposition leaders alike.