Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a deity of Maharashtra and does not belong to any specific community, state BJP chief Nitin Gadkari has said as controversy raged over the appointment of a noted historian on a committee to build a giant memorial of the Maratha king.
The great Maratha warrior does not belong to any specific community and he never indulged in casteism during his rule, he said, talking to reporters in Nashik on Friday.
Appointment of Babasaheb Purandare, a respected historian who has popularised the life and times of the 17th century King, on the government panel is being opposed by some Maratha leaders in the state.
Gadkari described as unfortunate NCP functionary Vinayak Mete's remarks against Purandare, a Brahmin, and said people will not accept casteist politics on the issue.
The state government has proposed to construct a 309-feet high statue of Shivaji in Arabian Sea off Marine Drive in South Mumbai. The statue is part of a Rs 300-crore project to build a memorial of the revered Maratha figure.
Gadkari said the Shiv Sena-BJP combine worked well in the Lok Sabha elections and "we are also going to contest forthcoming Assembly elections together."
Earlier Gadkari felicitated two newly elected BJP MPs, Harishchandra Chavan (Dindori) and Pratapdada Sonawane (Dhule), at a function in Nashik.