Shivaji statue row: Lead agitation in Belgaum, Raut dares FadnavisUpdated: Aug 10, 2020 01:02 IST
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut took a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the opposition party in Maharashtra, on the silence over the removal of Shivaji’s statue in Mangutti village of Karnataka’s Belgaum district. Raut said the “conspiracy” by the BJP government in Karnataka to remove the statue in the night is “condemnable”.
The Sena leader challenged the Leader of opposition in Maharashtra and former chief minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis to lead an agitation in Belgaum and promised support from the Shiv Sena. “The manner in which the Karnataka police removed the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is condemnable. Nobody from Maharashtra’s opposition party is ready to talk about it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid respects to Chhatrapati Shivaji during the foundation laying ceremony of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The same party’s government in Karnataka removed the statue in the night by switching off the lights,” he told reporters in Mumbai.
He further said, “Maharashtra government should take serious note of this incident. Without indulging in politics, the opposition party in the state should be taken in confidence. If needed, we are ready to go to Belgaum and agitate under the leadership of the opposition leader. Ask him, if he is ready.”
Belgaum district of Karnataka, which has a sizable Marathi-speaking population, has been the subject of a protracted boundary dispute between the two states.
On Saturday, Maharashtra minister and Sena leader Eknath Shinde demanded that the Karnataka government reinstate the statue of Shivaji Maharaj which was allegedly removed by the authorities in Belgaum district.
In a letter to Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa, Shinde, who is the coordinator minister for border areas along Karnataka, claimed that a life-size statue of the warrior king was removed at Mangutti village by the police and district authorities. The statue had been installed with the permission of the gram panchayat, but the administration removed it deliberately, claimed the minister and demanded action against the officials involved.