Koshyari offers to quit as Maha guv amid row over comment on Shivaji
Mumbai Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday said he wanted to step down from his position, and that he conveyed the decision to Prime Ninister Narendra Modi during his visit to the city last week — a move that comes amid a raging controversy over Koshyari’s remarks on Shivaji that led to calls for his resignation.
Mumbai: Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday said he wanted to step down from his position, and that he conveyed the decision to Prime Ninister Narendra Modi during his visit to the city last week — a move that comes amid a raging controversy over Koshyari’s remarks on Shivaji that led to calls for his resignation.
A statement from the Raj Bhavan said that Koshyari wanted to retire from political life.
“During the Prime Minister’s visit to Mumbai, I have conveyed to him my desire to be discharged from all political responsibilities as I want to get busy in reading, writing and other such activities for the rest of my life,” the statement on his behalf said.
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“I can never forget the love and affection received from the people of Maharashtra in the last over three years. It was an absolute honour and privilege to serve as the Rajya Sevak or Rajyapal (governor) of a great state like Maharashtra -- the land of saints, social reformers and valiant fighters,” it added.
The governor appeared to be close to stepping down once before as well. On December 6 last year, he wrote to Union home minister Amit Shah, seeking his “advice” on what to do next.
Though Koshyari’s stint as governor — which started on September 5, 2019 — has been riddled with controversies, his remarks on November 19, 2023kicked up a political storm. At a function held at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad, he said that Shivaji was an “old icon” and Maharashtra now had “newer ones” such as BR Ambedkar and Union minister Nitin Gadkari.
His statement led to two descendants of Shivaji — Udayanraje Bhonsale and Chhatrapati Sambhaji — taking the matter to the PM and the President, even as political parties slammed him for “disrespecting” someone who is regarded as a god by the people of Maharashtra.
Hours after news of Koshyari’s statement on Monday, Opposition parties said that he should have been recalled by the Centre by now, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said he was setting an example for others to follow.
“It is good that Koshyari sought to discharge himself from the governor’s position. In fact, he is the one who hates Maharashtra, and insulted our ideals, and he should have been kicked out of the state,” former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said.
Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole alleged that Koshyari’s actions did not meet the standards of his constitutional chair. “He is holding a constitutional position but his actions are unconstitutional. He made defamatory statements against the ideals of Maharashtra such as Shivaji Maharaj... We have already demanded his removal and a complaint has also been sent to the President, Droupadi Murmu, but BJP tries to continue him in the position,” he said.
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Ideally, Koshyari should have written to the President, said Nationalist Congress Party leader Amol Mitkari. “It appears that he wants to create a picture that he is not interested in continuing as governor but the Prime Minister thinks differently.”
The BJP, however, backed Koshyari for taking the decision.
“We have seen many politicians who do not want to leave their positions irrespective of their age. But Koshyari wants to be relieved so that he can spend the rest of his life reading, writing among other such activities,” state forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.
The Opposition has been accusing Koshyari of acting in a partisan manner during his tenure, while the governor has said the he has fulfilled his constitutional duties without fear or favour.