Book comparing Modi to Shivaji Maharaj: Udayanraje says Shivaji ‘incomparable’, targets Sena, NCP

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Udayanraje Bhosale at a press conference Tuesday. (Photo: Ashish Kale)

A day after the Shiv Sena questioned his “silence” over a book comparing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP leader and descendant of the Maratha warrior king, Udayanraje Bhosale, said on Tuesday there was no parallel to the great king. The former Satara MP, however, did not specifically call for a ban on the book.

As the book Aaj ke Shivaji: Narendra Modi, authored by BJP leader Jay Bhagwan Goyal, created a political storm in the state, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati, also a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, had on Monday demanded that it be banned.

On Tuesday, Bhosale told mediapersons that while he was yet to read the book, all those who love Chhatrapati Shivaji have been “hurt”. “Not just in the country, even in the world, there is no one who could rise to the height that Chhatrapati Shivaji rose to. ‘Yugpurush’ are born once in a lifetime. And that yugpurush was Shivaji Maharaj. We all try to follow and emulate him, but no one can become Shivaji Maharaj,” he said.

Bhosale’s reaction comes hours after senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said the book had been withdrawn. He also targetted Sena for questioning the descendants of Shivaji every time a controversy erupts. “When the Shiv Sena was named, did they (Sena) discuss it with the descendants? Why was the prefix ‘Shiv’ removed from the Maha ‘Shiv’ Aghadi? The name of Chhatrapati Shivaji is used to suit their (Sena’s) convenience, and then he is forgotten.”

Daring the Uddhav Thackeray-led party to remove “Shiv” from its name and rechristen it as “Thackeray Sena”, he said: “I also want to see how many youths join you (Shiv Sena) when you remove Shiv from your name.”

His comments came a day after Sena leader Sanjay Raut dubbed the book “insulting”, and asked Chhatrapati Shivaji’s descendants to clarify their stand and quit the BJP over the issue.

Stating that he was not like a dog chasing power, Bhosale said, “I gave up Lok Sabha membership. How many will dare do such a thing? My connect is with the ordinary man, I can give up my life for the common man. It is in our blood. Power-hungry people should not tell us who we are and who we are not.” When contacted, Raut said he would not react to Udayanraje’s remarks.

Bhosale also trained guns on the NCP for referring to party chief Sharad Pawar as “Jaanta Raja (wise king)”. “God knows, who gave them the title of Jaanta Raja. When such titles are bestowed, people should think... I can speak a lot, but will not since they are in power,” he said without naming Pawar.

In a sharp retort, NCP leader and minister Jitendra Awhad said, “Sharad Pawar is Jaanta Raja because of his immense contribution for the development of Maharashtra.”

Party state spokesperson Nawab Malik also said that Bhosale was mum about the BJP, which was behind the publication of the book because he has “surrendered himself to the saffron party”.