Shivaji Maharaj belongs to all, says Sena in swipe at BJP

Mumbai, Nov 17 (PTI) The Shiv Sena on Sunday took aswipe at one-time ally BJP and said Chhatrapati Shivaji wasnot 'confined to any caste or party' but belongs to all 11crore people of Maharashtra.

The BJP had mounted a campaign seen by political observers as an effort to appropriate the legacy of the legendary warrior-king in a bid to upstage the Sena.

Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, writing in his weekly'Rokhthok' column in party mouthpiece 'Saamana', said,'Shivaji Maharaj is not confined to a caste or a party. Hebelongs to all 11 crore people of Maharashtra.' Taking a dig at the BJP's campaign centring on thefounder of the Maratha Empire, Raut wrote, 'The BJP has been campaigning that it is the only party blessed by ShivajiMaharaj. Despite that, BJP candidate Udayanraje Bhosale, lostthe Satara Lok Sabha bypoll.' Udayanraje Bhosale, a direct descendant of ChhatrapatiShivaji, quit the NCP and joined the BJP, but was trounced bythe Sharad Pawar-led party's Shriniwas Patil in the Lok Sabhabypoll held along with the October 21 Assembly elections.

It was the defeat of a person and not a legacy, theSena article asserted.

'Shivaji Maharaj taught us that Maharashtra does nottolerate arrogance and hypocrisy. Whenever people take oath in the name of Shivaji Maharaj but do not keep promises, andstart thinking of themselves as rulers of the state, then it is a sign of their downfall,' Raut said.

Raut also pointed out that the BJP (the government ledby it) did not even begin work on the Shivaji Memorial in theArabian Sea though its government in neighbouring Gujarat had completed that of Sardar Patel, the tallest such structure in the world.

Narendra Modi, as chief minister of Gujarat, laid thefoundation stone of the Sardar Patel memorial in Narmadadistrict there and it was completed before the end of hisfirst five year term as prime minister, Raut said.

The BJP and Sena fought the October Assembly pollstogether and came up with 161 seats jointly in the 288-member House, but the latter's insistence on equal sharing of the chief ministerial tenure caused the saffron alliance to come apart. PTI ND BNM DVDV