'Narendra Modi-is-Shivaji' book ruckus intensifies
BJP distances itself from the controversy as demand for scrapping of the book reaches the streets
Jai Bhagwan Goyal, who was sacked from the Shiv Sena following an attack on Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi by his henchmen in 2008, has landed his current party, the BJP, in trouble with his book that compares Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Through the controversial book, Goyal has given the political parties ammo to slam the BJP for encouraging the unthinkable. Several political leaders along with Shivaji lovers have demanded the withdrawal of the book, 'Aaj ke Shivaji – Narendra Modi'. The Maharashtra Congress unit has planned a state-wide protest on Tuesday. The BJP has distanced itself saying it did not publish the book, which was launched in Delhi on Saturday. Sambhaji Raje Bhosale, BJP's RS member and Shivaji's descendant, also demanded the scrapping of the book.
'There can be no comparison'
State Congress president and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, who will lead Tuesday's agitation, said, "Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is our revered deity and a source of inspiration. The BJP, which demanded votes in the name of Chhatrapati, is now comparing PM Modi with him. Even in the past, similar comparison was made by Ajay Kumar Bisht [UP CM Yogi Adityanath] and Vijay Goyel."
"There can be no comparison between Modi's divisive politics and communal policies, like CAA and NRC, his autocratic way of running the government, with the secular approach Chhatrapati adopted to establish a 'Swarajya'. The BJP should not even think of invoking Shivaji Maharaj after a large scale corruption in his memorial project," he added.
Kamlesh Patil, general secretary of Maratha Seva Sangh, said the PM should himself condemn the book.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has asked descendants of Shivaji Maharaj from Satara and Kolhapur, who are now in BJP, to either demand withdrawal of the book or resign from the party. "The descendants of Shivaji Maharaj must take a stand when the people are speaking out." NCP leader and housing minister Jitendra Awhad said there can be no other Shivaji Maharaj. Though Goyal expressed regret for causing hurt, he said he stands by his writing and the book's controversial title. BJP's national vice-president Shyam Jajoo said Goyal did not intend to defame Shivaji Maharaj. Former minister of BJP Sudhir Mungantiwar decried the criticism as unnecessary. "Late Indira Gandhi was compared with Mata Durga by none other than Atal Behari Vajpayee. It was also said that India is Indira and Indira is India. Sharad Pawar has also been called 'Janata Raja' [a title given to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj]. Did anyone complain or agitate then?" he asked.
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