A book written by a BJP leader that compares Prime Minister Narendra Modi with warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji has kicked up a storm in Maharashtra, with a Congress leader filing a complaint with the Nagpur Police claiming that the book hurts popular sentiments. The book is titled "Aaj ke Shivaji: Narendra Modi."
The ruling Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine (Maha Vikas Aghadi) is up in arms against the book, written by the BJP's Jai Bhagwan Goyal and released on Saturday. Leaders from the ruling parties in Maharashtra have termed it an insult to Shivaji, asserting that no one can be compared to him. The NCP and the Sambhaji Brigade, an organisation working for Maratha interests, held a protest on the issue in Pune on Monday.
In fact, even BJP Rajya Sabha MP Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje, who is also a descendant of the warrior king, demanded a ban on the book.
"We respect Narendra Modi, who was elected as the prime minister of the country for the second time. But neither Modi nor anybody else in the world can be compared with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj," he told reporters at Sindkhed Raja in Buldhana district.
He demanded that BJP chief Amit Shah should immediately ban the book, which was published in BJP's Delhi office. "People are expressing anger on social media over the book and demanding a ban on it," Sambhaji Raje said.
Maha Vikas Aghadi slams BJP: 'There's only one Shivaji'
A Maharashtra Congress spokesperson on Sunday lodged a complaint with the Nagpur Police Goyal for allegedly hurting the sentiments of people through the book. In the complaint filed by Congress spokesman Atul Londhe, he said by comparing Modi to Shivaji Maharaj the writer has insulted the warrior king. In his complaint, the Congress leader sought action against Goyal, the publisher of the book and its distributor.
State revenue minister and Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said —
I am going to participate in a protest against BJP's attempt to compare Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chhatrapti Shivaji Maharaj. The protest will be held on January 14, at 11 am, near Tilak Bhavan. Partyworkers and supporters will also participate in large numbers.
— Balasaheb Thorat (@bb_thorat) January 13, 2020
The Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said, "At least the Maharashtra BJP should clarify its stand on the issue. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj cannot be compared with anybody in this world. There is only one sun, one moon and only one Shivaji Maharaj...Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj."
The NCP's Nawab Malik said, "Comparing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj with prime minister Modi is a great insult to Maharaj and the people of Maharashtra, BJP should withdraw the book."
Some journalists also lashed out at the BJP for its leader's book. For instance, Sudhir Suryawanshi said, "The desperation of forming 80 hours government in Maharashtra forced Devendra Fadnavis to sit in Opposition. "Aaj Ke Shivaji: Narendra Modi" by BJP was another desperate attempt by BJP to divert attentions from the real issues like slowing economy & rising unemployment."
Another senior journalist Nikhil Wagle said, "This is an insult to Shivaji Maharaj!"
हा तर शिवाजी महाराजांचा अपमान आहे! https://t.co/q4w36xpvwc
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) January 12, 2020
BJP distances self from controversy
The BJP has sought to distance itself from the controversy, saying the party has nothing do with its publication and it represents the author's personal opinion.
BJP media co-incharge Sanjay Mayukh told reporters that the book's author has also expressed his willingness to withdraw those parts of the book which a section of society has found objectionable.
Goyal told PTI that he was willing to revise those parts of the book to which opposition leaders have objected.
"I only wanted to tell readers as to how Modi like Shivaji has worked to take everyone along and also been successful in doing what many considered impossible. If it has hurt sentiments of some people, I am willing to revise those parts of the book," he said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jan 13, 2020 17:00:34 IST