After Tension Over Shivaji Remarks By Governor, BJP Tries To Make Nice

Two days ago, it was Nitin Gadkari whom Governor Koshyari had complimented while describing Shivaji as an outdated icon.

After Tension Over Shivaji Remarks By Governor, BJP Tries To Make Nice

BS Koshyari had made the comments while conferring honorary doctorates on Nitin Gadkari and Sharad Pawar

In a huge row over Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's comments on Shivaji, and its impact on the state's ruling alliance, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari broke his silence and stepped in with words aimed at appeasing ally Eknath Shinde.

"Shivaji Maharaj is our god...We revere him even more than our parents," Mr Gadkari said.

Two days ago, it was Mr Gadkari whom Governor Koshyari had complimented while describing Shivaji as an outdated icon.

"'Earlier, when you were asked who your icon is, the answers would be Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi. In Maharashtra, you need not look elsewhere (as) there are so many icons here. While Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is icon of the olden days, now there are BR Ambedkar and Nitin Gadkari," the Maharashtra Governor had said on Saturday.

Mr Koshyari made the comments while conferring honorary doctorates on Mr Gadkari and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar.

But it became deeply awkward for Mr Gadkari's party BJP, and its five-month-old alliance with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's Sena faction.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and the NCP slammed the comments, accusing the Governor of demeaning Maharashtra by equating Shivaji with the BJP leader.

Team Thackeray also questioned the "silence" of the rival Eknath Shinde faction over comments by a Governor seen to be close to the BJP.

This morning, an MLA of Chief Minister Shinde's party, Sanjay Gaikwad, demanded that Mr Koshyari be moved out of Maharashtra for his remarks.

"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. 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," the MLA said.

The Shivaji comments have added a new layer to the raging controversy over another figure from the past, Veer Savarkar, and Rahul Gandhi's comment that he had sought mercy from the British while in jail during the freedom movement.

An editorial in the Sena's mouthpiece Saamana today attacked the Governor and asked why Chief Minister Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis were both silent on the Shivaji "insult" after railing at Rahul Gandhi's Savarkar comments last week.

"The BJP and Shinde leaders were on the streets when a controversial statement was made against Savarkar but now they are hiding in their holes," the editorial said.

"The Governor's statement can't be a personal opinion, and if it's his personal opinion, then Rahul Gandhi's statement can also be his personal opinion. The Shinde and Fadnavis government doesn't have the guts to oppose the Governor. 11 crore population of Maharashtra also have a 'personal opinion' that whoever insults Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj will have to apologize in front of the state."

Featured Video Of The Day

Adani Row: "LIC, State Bank Exposure Tiny," Finance Secretary Tells NDTV
.