Amid much recent clamour by the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) for his resignation, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday said he had conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi his desire to step down from political responsibilities during the latter’s visit to Mumbai last week.
In a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan, Mr. Koshyari, who has been in the eye of the storm for his allegedly controversial remarks against great personages of the State, expressed his desire to spend the rest of his life reading, writing and engaged in “other activities”.
“It was an absolute honour and privilege for me to serve as the Rajya Sevak or Rajyapal of a great state like Maharashtra – the land of saints, social reformers and valiant fighters,” Koshyari said, also tweeting his remarks.
“I can never forget the love and affection I have received from the people of Maharashtra during the last little more than three years. During the recent visit of the Prime Minister to Mumbai, I conveyed to him my desire to be discharged of all political responsibilities and to spend the remainder of my life in reading, writing and other activities. I have always received the love and affection from the Prime Minister and I hope to receive the same in this regard,” Mr. Koshyari said in the statement.
The development comes a fortnight after Mr. Koshyari at a function reportedly commented that the Governor’s role had brought only ‘unhappiness’ to him.
Since last November, the Governor has been facing fierce opprobrium from the MVA parties (Sharad Pawar-led NCP, Congress and Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction) for allegedly calling the 17th century Maratha king “an icon of olden times.”
During his speech at the Dr. Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad in the presence of Union Minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari in November, Mr. Koshyari had said that while Chhatrapati Shivaji was an “icon for an earlier era”, Mr. Gadkari was an icon for the modern generation.
This had given the opposition ammunition to train guns at Mr. Koshyari, while descendants of the Chhatrapati — BJP MP Udayanraje Bhosale and former BJP MP Sambhaji Chhatrapati — demanded his resignation. This followed a massive demonstration on part of the three MVA parties against Mr. Koshyari.
This was not the first time Mr. Koshyari, who has frequently been accused by the MVA as a partisan of the BJP, has courted controversy for his remarks on Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Last year, he was slammed by the MVA and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray for allegedly mocking 19th-century social reformers Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule for “getting married at a young age”. He also stoked controversy when he said Samarth Ramdas was Chhatrapati Shivaji’s ‘ guru’, contrary to historical evidence.
Commenting on his wish to step down, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole said that any decision on the Governor could only be taken by the President and that the latter ought to “remove” Mr. Koshyari from his post for his controversial remarks and conduct.
The ruling BJP, on the other hand, said the MVA had unfairly rallied against the Governor by deliberately taking his remarks out of context.
Ever since he was appointed to the post in September 2019, Mr. Koshyari has had a fractious relationship with the erstwhile Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government.
Mr. Koshyari has been accused by the opposition of deliberately stalling and violating the constitution by avoiding taking a decision on filling up the vacant posts of 12 members in the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC), which has been pending for over two years now.