Maharashtra tourism minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha compared chief minister Eknath Shinde to the Maratha ruler, sparking a new controversy.
Mumbai: Even as the debate surrounding Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s “old idol” statement about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has yet to die down, state tourism minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha compared chief minister Eknath Shinde to the Maratha ruler, sparking a new controversy. During a speech in the Satara district on Wednesday, Lodha tried to link Shinde’s uprising against former CM Uddhav Thackeray to Shivaji’s escape from the hands of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Priyanka Chaturvedi and Aaditya Thackeray, two prominent members of the opposition, lashed out at the minister for his remarks and the state government, which is led by Shinde’s Sena faction and the BJP.
Taking to Twitter, Sena (Uddhav) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote that Lodha’s comparison of the “bravery” of Shivaji with the “treacherously formed government” is again a “symbol of the BJP’s political bankruptcy.”
The chief minister and deputy chief minister sit silent while the Maharashtra deity is humiliated every day. “Have some shame!” She wrote in Hindi,
Aaditya Thackeray, the son of former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who was the Maharashtra tourism minister in the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, also heavily criticised Lodha’s remarks.
“It is Maharashtrian enmity, not Hinduism, to compare the traitors who surrendered their faith with Chhatrapati Shiv Raya! The goal of the box government is ‘Maharashtra’s gentrification’,” according to Aaditya’s post, which was loosely translated from Marathi.
Lodha’s remarks about Shivaji were condemned by Sena’s (Uddhav’s) former MVA allies, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Congress. According to sources, Ajit Pawar, the NCP’s leader in the state’s opposition, called the entire incident “unfortunate and upsetting.” Additionally, he questioned how a chief minister could be compared to Shivaji. Meanwhile, Lodha’s resignation has been asked by the state Congress unit.