Mumbai: After receiving flak from the Opposition for his comments on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah explaining his stand and clarifying he would “never even imagine” insulting icons like Shivaji.
“I cannot even imagine in my dreams to insult icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharana Pratap and Shri Guru Govind Singh. You are aware that I do not hesitate to express regrets or apologise immediately even if I unintentionally made a mistake,” Koshyari wrote in the letter addressed to the home minister.
The letter, dated 8 December, comes amid demands by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray that Koshyari be removed from his post as Maharashtra Governor.
Koshyari, in the letter to which ThePrint has access, justified that his speech at a university event was blown out of proportion for criticism.
“Some people took a portion of my entire speech at a university, out of the context for criticism. With a reference to the past icons, I was presenting the current eminent personalities who could be the inspiration for the youth,” he stated.
The Maharashtra Governor further added: “Even during covid-19 when many big leaders did not step out, I at this age also stepped out and visited places related to Shivaji Maharaj and his mother Jijabai. He will also remain an inspiration for me,” the Maharashtra Governor stated in the letter addressed to Shah.
Koshyari further went on to explain that he had decided to “stay away from political posts” by not contesting in the 2019 general elections, but, he later accepted the Maharashtra Governor’s post at PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister’s request.
“Because of the love and faith shown by Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and you in a humble worker like me, I accepted the post of Maharashtra Governor,” he wrote.
Questioning Koshyari, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Clyde Crasto asked why he is giving clarification to the home minister since a governor holds a “constitutional position and is appointed by the President of India”.
“Koshyari has hurt the sentiments of the people of Maharashtra and if he wishes to give a clarification, he must write a letter to the President and also the people of Maharashtra,” he affirmed.
Crasto further demanded “in what capacity the letter was written” to Amit Shah.
“He (Bhagat Singh Koshyari) should have done so in his personal capacity and not on his official letterhead. He must clarify in what capacity the letter was written. If personal, then it is a misuse of a constitutional position and if as a governor then he should have written to Rashtrapati Bhavan,” he added.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe, reacting sharply to Koshyari’s comments on Chhatrapati Maharaj, lambasted the Bharatiya Janata Party and accused it was the party’s “conspiracy” to make people forget the older icons.
“Nobody has apologised for the remark over Shivaji Maharaj neither the governor nor any BJP leader who has insulted Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” Londhe asserted.
Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson Anand Dubey also revealed that Koshyari “has still not apologised” for his remarks.
“You (Bhagat Singh Koshyari) must go to Delhi and resign. Take guidance from Amit Shah and go back to from where you have come,” Dubey told ThePrint.
Over the last few weeks, the controversial remarks by Governor Koshyari and other BJP leaders on Shivaji Maharaj have put the opposition in attacking mode.
At a function in Aurangabad last month, Koshyari had called the 17th-century Maratha king Shivajiraje Bhonsale an “icon for older times” as opposed to “modern-day” ones like B.R. Ambedkar and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, thus, leading to widespread protests and attacks from a united opposition.
Two days ago, the MVA MPs delegation met Amit Shah seeking his intervention on the matter. On the other hand, BJP MP Udayanaraje Bhosale met PM Modi and demanded “immediate action” against Koshyari for his remarks.
Also read: Chhatrapati Shivaji’s descendant writes to President Murmu, PM Modi over Koshiyari statement