The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Udayanraje Bhosale, who is a descendant of Shivaji, on Tuesday slammed the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for “misusing” the Maratha warrior king’s name.
Udayanraje Bhosale, who represented Satara in the Lok Sabha, was speaking to reporters after a controversy over a book comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the 17-century Maratha king erupted over the weekend.
The Congress had said it would stage protests across Maharashtra on Tuesday and the NCP demanded the immediate withdrawal of the book. And the Sena had said the BJP should ban the book’s distribution and officially announce that it has no links to the book’s publication.
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The BJP on Monday announced the withdrawal of “Aaj Ke Shivaji – Narendra Modi” — written by one of its functionaries Jai Bhagwan Goyal, a former Sena activist in Delhi after the uproar by Maharashtra’s ruling parties, the Sena, Congress and NCP.
Bhosale accused those opposed to the book, including the Sena and NCP, of double-speak and said they don’t raise any objection when NCP president Sharad Pawar is called the “Janata Raja”, a title exclusively used for Shivaji in Maharashtra.
“Did the Shiv Sena ask the descendants when it used Shivaji’s name in the party’s title? Sena has named vada pav scheme after Shivaji, which is an insult to the warrior king’s name. Various parties have not only misused Shivaji’s name but insulted the king in various ways,” said Bhosale.
Senior Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut had also asked Udayanraje Bhosale and Shivendraraje Bhosale, another descendant of Shivaji, to resign over the issue.
“The descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who are occupying the seat of Satara and Kolhapur, are in the BJP. Some are MPs, some are MLAs and some are former MLAs. We asked them to take a stand on the comparison of Maharaj with political leaders. What’s wrong in that?” Raut asked.
“We common people are fighting for the respect of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and we will do so. But you are descendants of Shivaji Maharaj and the biggest responsibility falls on you. You should have immediately resigned,” he said.
Udayanraje Bhosale was defeated during the recently-held Lok Sabha by-polls, which were necessitated after he resigned as the MP and joined the BJP.