Low-key celebration of Shiv Jayanti in Maharashtra

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Mumbai, Feb 19 (PTI) Shiv Jayanti, the birth anniversary of iconic warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was celebrated in a subdued manner in Maharashtra on Friday amid the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state government had asked people to desist from taking out processions and bike rallies which are witnessed in many parts of Maharashtra on Shiv Jayanti in normal times.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari offered floral tributes to the equestrian statue of the 17th century ruler at Shivaji Park in Dadar here.

Minister Ashok Chavan, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar and Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal were among those present.

The governor later participated in the Shiv Jayanti celebrations organized by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation at Krida Bhavan, a Raj Bhavan statement said.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his deputy Ajit Pawar visited the Shivneri Fort, Shivaji Maharaj's birthplace in Pune district.

The warrior king was born on the hill fort on this day in 1630.

'Shivaji Maharaj fought several battles and established 'swaraj'.... There is no need to tell how he fought the opponents. No such battles are being fought now, and there are no swords and shields. But right now we are fighting a battle against the coronavirus and face mask is the only shield in the fight,' the chief minister said.

'One cannot win a battle by just holding a sword. One needs a determined heart and the desire to win. Shivaji Maharaj continues to provide that inspiration,' he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis paid tributes to the warrior king by garlanding his statue in Nagpur.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole also paid tributes to Shivaji Maharaj.

'Humble tributes to pro-people's welfare ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who awakened self-pride in the minds of the people and realized the concept of the people's rule. Greetings to all on the occasion of Shiv Jayanti,' Pawar tweeted.

The Raigad Fort, the capital of Shivaji Maharaj's state, was illuminated with colored lights on the eve of the anniversary on Thursday.

In Aurangabad district, R R Patil Foundation, a private organization, showered flower petals on statues of Shivaji Maharaj and other monuments in the district from helicopter.

Like all festivals, Shiv Jayanti too was affected by the pandemic as no big gatherings and processions could be organized.

Maharashtra, particularly its Vidarbha region, has seen a spike in coronavirus cases this month. The state reported more than 5,000 new cases after a gap of 75 days on Thursday. PTI ENM KRK KRK