NCP to start awareness drive about ‘insulted’ Maharashtra icons
By the end of 2022, the ruling BJP was at the receiving end of much flak from opposition parties owing to statements made by its leaders which were considered an “insult to the idols of Maharashtra”.
Mumbai: Following the political uproar over BJP leaders’ ‘insults’ to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and other Maharashtra icons, the NCP has decided to corner the BJP on the issue. The party will soon launch the ‘Maharashtra Sanmaan Parishad’, a statewide awareness campaign on Maharashtra’s idols.
Senior leader and former minister Jitendra Awhad and legislator Amol Mitkari will speak about the icons in an attempt to create awareness about them and their contribution to Maharashtra and India. Although the official announcement about the Parishad is yet to be made, the drive is expected to begin from Pune on February 3. “The campaign is still in the planning stages and the party will share more details soon,” said an NCP leader.
By the end of 2022, the ruling BJP was at the receiving end of much flak from opposition parties owing to statements made by its leaders which were considered an “insult to the idols of Maharashtra”. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who remarked that Shivaji was an old icon and Maharashtra had newer ones like Babasaheb Ambedkar and Union minister Nitin Gadkari, kicked off the ‘insult’ fest. Sudhanshu Trivedi, BJP national spokesperson, continued it—while defending V D Savarkar’s clemency petitions to the British, he declared that before independence, people would write mercy petitions in a prescribed format to get released from jail, and Shivaji Maharaj too had written five such letters to Aurangzeb.
Trivedi’s remark as well as the others led to strong reactions across Maharashtra and protests against the BJP and its leaders. Apologies were sought and demands made that Koshyari be dismissed from the governor’s position. MVA leaders held a massive ‘Halla Bol Morcha’ in Mumbai on December 17.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sushma Andhare is likely to take part in the Sanmaan Parishad. “I will participate in some of the rallies,” she said. “I will take a stand against the defamatory statements made against Maharashtra’s icons.” Last year, Andhare travelled across the state in ‘Mahaprabodhan Yatra’, an outreach programme organised by the Uddhav Thackeray faction.
The BJP’s response to the Sanmaan Parishad was that the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi allies were on the verge of a split. “The MVA was formed to come to power,” said Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule. “I believe they are on the verge of separation and will not get candidates to contest polls.”
This is the second initiative taken by the NCP against the ruling parties. From January 4, the party commenced a statewide ‘Janjagar Yatra’ or awareness march being carried out by women leaders and workers of the party. The yatris travelled across Maharashtra to educate people on rising inflation and unemployment under the Modi government. The yatra is being seen as a counter-attack on the ruling BJP, which has come up with ‘Mission 45’ to win 45 out of 48 Maharashtra Lok Sabha seats in 2024.