Sena (Uddhav) leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday demanded the removal of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari over an “old idol” remark on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj while also seeking Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s resignation on the matter.
Speaking to the media, Raut took on Shinde and questioned if he has the “self-respect” that the Shiv Sena leader claimed, Shinde had cited during the rebellion against the Shiv Sena. This comes after the Maharashtra Governor struck a controversy on Saturday by calling the Maratha ruler an “old idol”.
Slamming the Maharashtra government for keeping “silent” on the issue, Raut said, “The Governor has insulted Shivaji Maharaj four times in one year. Still, the government is silent. PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah consider Shivaji Maharaj as an idol and their national spokesperson said that Shivaji Maharaj apologised to Aurangzeb five times. Is this the BJP’s official stand? BJP should apologise to Maharashtra and remove the Governor right away.”
Accusing the BJP of “insulting” Shivaji Maharaj openly, Raut asked CM Shinde to step down from his post. “I am surprised that the Chief Minister who gave the slogan of self-respect and broke Shiv Sena and formed the government with the BJP, where has your self-respect gone now? The BJP is openly insulting Shivaji Maharaj. You should resign. If you have respect for Shivaji Maharaj, why are you in the government with them?” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Raut took a jibe at the BJP and said that the party is protesting against Rahul Gandhi’s remarks against Veer Savarkar, and they should now protest against the Raj Bhavan. “His statement is an insult to Maharashtra and Shivaji Maharaj. BJP is carrying out protests against Rahul Gandhi’s remarks against Veer Savarkar. They are hitting out with shoes. Now the shoes should go to the Raj Bhavan from where remarks are being made against Shivaji Maharaj. Then you are the son of Maharashtra, otherwise, you are fake,” Raut said.
Addressing a function at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad, the Maharashtra governor had remarked that Shivaji Maharaj has become an “old idol” and the new ones could be found in Babasaheb Ambedkar to Nitin Gadkari. “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,” he had said.
An emotive and iconic figure in Maharashtra, transcending political affiliations, the governor’s remark on the Maratha warrior did not go down well with leaders.
A spokesperson for the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena condemned the governor’s statement saying he is known to disrespect great leaders. “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is not only our deity but our source of inspiration. He will always be the idol for all of us,” Anand Dubey, a spokesman for the Uddhav Sena said in a statement. “Going by the governor’s statements, even Lord Ram and Lord Krishna have become old idols. Must we find new deities now to worship?” Dubey asked, adding that the governor’s statement should be strongly condemned.