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Shivaji’s descendant Udayanraje Bhosale tears into MVA

Scathing attack: BJP leader Udayanraje Bhosale addresses a press conference in Pune on Tuesday.

Scathing attack: BJP leader Udayanraje Bhosale addresses a press conference in Pune on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Jignesh Mistry

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BJP leader from Satara says Shiv Sena, which claims to be a party built on the 17th century Maratha ruler’s ideals, should change its name to Thackeray Sena

Attacking the Shiv Sena on Tuesday, Udayanraje Bhonsale, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and descendant of Maratha king Shivaji, said no political leader is tall enough to merit comparison with the ‘Chhatrapati’. Mr. Bhosale questioned why the photo of the Sena founder, Bal Thackeray, was placed above that of the Maratha king at Sena Bhavan, the party’s headquarters, in Dadar.

Addressing reporters in Pune, Mr. Bhosale, who had remained silent over the row triggered by the publication of a booklet, Aaj ke Shivaji: Narendra Modi, by a BJP leader Jai Bhagwan Goyal, targeted his party for coming out with a book that dared to compare the Prime Minister to king Shivaji.

“Shivaji Maharaj is a universal inspiration… no one is tall enough to be compared to him. Have some people taken leave of their senses by comparing him to the Prime Minister?” said Mr. Bhosale, the 13th direct descendant of the Maratha king.

Harsh criticism

He, however, reserved his sharpest criticism for the Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, who formed the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the State. “Just take a look at Sena Bhavan... look at whose image [Bal Thackeray’s] is placed above and whose photo is placed below [of Shivaji],” Mr. Bhosale said, showing photos of Sena Bhavan.

He said the Sena, which claims to be a party built on Shivaji’s ideals, should change its name to Thackeray Sena. “Remove Shiv from Shiv Sena and let me see how many youths flock to your standards. This is the party which had orchestrated riots on king Shivaji’s name,” said Mr. Bhosale, a former three-term NCP MP who had defected to the BJP ahead of the Assembly polls last year.

Mr. Bhosale’s remarks were a riposte to Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s jibes at him. Mr. Raut had demanded that the descendants of Shivaji, including BJP MLA Shivendraraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sambhaji Raje, speak up against their party on the booklet row. “When you [the Sena leadership] christened your party ‘Shiv Sena’, did you people bother to ask Shivaji’s descendants about it?” Mr. Bhosale said.

Lashing out at the opportunistic nature of the government and Mr. Raut’s role in forging the alliance, Mr. Bhosale said the BJP did not “run after power like dogs”.

In a veiled jibe at NCP chief Sharad Pawar, he said using king Shivaji’s epithet, Jaanta Raja (the wise king), for someone is equal to belittling the Maratha ruler. He said only the 17th century king had claim to the title. The moniker has often been used to refer to Mr. Pawar in political circles. BJP leaders, including former minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, latched on this reference to defend the booklet and criticise the Sena’s double standards.

The booklet evoked condemnation across the State, with a number of protests and demonstrations involving the burning of effigies being held by the Sena, the NCP and the Congress. Activists of the ruling parties also filed multiple police complaints against Mr. Goyal in several districts.

Mr. Bhosale, who was one of only four elected NCP MPs in Maharashtra in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, had resigned to switch to the BJP. However, in the Satara Lok Sabha by-election, he lost to senior NCP leader and former Sikkim Governor Shriniwas Patil.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:20:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/shivajis-descendant-udayanraje-bhosale-tears-into-mva/article30570469.ece

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