Modi as Shivaji, Shah as Tanhaji: row erupts over video

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Uddhav Thackeray at a special screening of Tanhaji in Mumbai. (Photo: Prashant Nadkar)

Days after a book comparing Narendra Modi with Chhatrapati Shivaji raised a storm, a video depicting the Prime Minister as Chhatrapati Shivaji and Union Minister Amit Shah as warrior Tanhaji Malusare has surfaced on video-sharing platform YouTube.

The video, which purportedly uses scenes from recently released film Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, was allegedly being circulated ahead of the Delhi Assembly poll, scheduled for February 8.

A few days ago, the book Aaj Ke Shivaji: Narendra Modi, authored by BJP leader Jai Bhagwan Goyal, had triggered a row for comparing Modi with the Maratha king. The book was subsequently withdrawn by the BJP.

Calling the video an insult to the Maratha idol, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “Shivaji Maharaj is our deity and we will not tolerate his insult.”

Taking a dig at former BJP MP Udayanaraje Bhosale, a descendant of Shivaji, and right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide, Raut on Tuesday said he was awaiting for the reactions of those who called for bandh and protests in Sangli and Satara. “Where are these people who targeted the Shiv Sena?” he asked.

Sambhaji Raje, BJP MP from Kolhapur and descendant of Shivaji, meanwhile, condemned the video saying it is “intolerable”.

“After the book, the video has come. The party concerned should explain its role. The central government should investigate and take immediate actions against the culprits,” Raje said. He also urged political parties and activists to refrain from misusing the Maharaj’s image for “dirty politics”.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that he has received a complaint about the issue. “I have received a complaint about it (the video) wrongly showing pictures of Modi and Shah as Shivaji and Tanhaji. I will raise it with YouTube, (and tell them) to stop the video,” he said.

The BJP, meanwhile, has distanced itself from the controversial video claiming that the party has nothing to do with it. “The BJP is not using the video for the Delhi Assembly polls. We condemn the video. It is wrong to target the BJP on it,” said Chandrakant Patil, state BJP president. He added that Shivaji can not be compared with anybody.