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Former allies BJP, Sena spar over Shivaji Maharaj slogan

06:55 AM Jul 24, 2020 | FPJ Political Bureau

A war of words has broken out between former allies, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena after Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu’s disapproval of newly sworn-in BJP Rajya Sabha MP and Satara royal Udayanraje Bhosale’s slogans hailing Shivaji Maharaj.

Udayanraje, a descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, and a three-term Lok Sabha MP from Satara, quit the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to join the BJP last year. However, he was defeated by the NCP’s Srinivas Patil in the by-elections. Udayanraje was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the BJP. On Wednesday, Udayanraje, who took oath of office, ended it with the slogan of “Jai Bhawani, Jai Shivaji.” Naidu, who was in the chair took umbrage, and said “not a house, it is my chamber,” and no other slogan was allowed in the house or would not go on record.

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Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP and Saamna executive editor Sanjay Raut questioned who would “certify if the descendant of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had not been insulted in the Delhi durbar.” He taunted the BJP and Sambhajirao Bhide Guruji, a hardline Hindutva leader, who leads Shivaprathisthan Hindustan, for keeping mum on the issue.

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Speaking to reporters later, Raut said while Naidu may have acted as per the rules, this had hurt public sentiments. Raut added that the slogans praising Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj did not violate the Constitution and similar slogans had been given in Parliament.

Meanwhile, Naidu clarified himself in a tweet: “Always been a strong and vocal admirer of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and worshipper of Goddess Bhawani. Reminded members that as per conventional practice at the time of taking oath, no slogans are given. No disrespect at all.”

Incensed Shiv Sainiks condemned Naidu and questioned why the BJP, which had used Shivaji Maharaj’s name to come to power, had kept mum on the issue. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers said they would send 20 lakh letters with ‘Jai Bhawani, Jai Shivaji’ to Naidu.

In Delhi, Udayanraje said Naidu had only responded to objections from some members. He added that the controversy was driven by politics and added that if Shivaji Maharaj had been insulted, he would have resigned on the spot.

Seeking to downplay the controversy, Udayanraje said that Naidu had not erred in any way. He urged that no politics should be played in the name of Shivaji Maharaj.

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