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Livemint, Karishma Pranav Bhavsar

Bandh called in Pune today to protest against Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's remark on Shivaji Maharaj

This bandh is called in order to condemn the statement made by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari about Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

This bandh is called in order to condemn the statement made by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari about Maratha warrior King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. A traders' body in Pune, Fatehchand Ranka, president of the Federation of Traders Associations of Pune (FATP), has decided to extend support to today's ‘bandh’ and keep shops closed by 3 pm, news agency PTI has reported.

"Following the appeal made by these parties, an internal meeting of all the members of the federation was organised and it was decided to support the bandh by keeping the shops closed till 3 pm on Tuesday," Ranka said.

Essential services, petrol pumps and CNG pumps will remain operational today. 

What did Governor say?

While addressing a function at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad last month, the Maharashtra Governor had said, "If someone asks who your idol is, you don't have to go out looking for one. You will find them right here in Maharashtra. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has become an old idol now, you can find new ones -- from Babasaheb Ambedkar to (Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways) Nitin Gadkari.

An emotive and iconic figure in Maharashtra, transcending political affiliations, the Governor's remark on the Maratha warrior did not go down well with leaders. The statement sparked a massive furore and drew censure from Maratha organisations and opposition leaders alike.

The NCP and the Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena have been demanding strict action against people in high offices who have made insulting references to Chhatrapati Shivaji. Raising the issue in Lok Sabha, NCP member Amol Kolhe and Shiv Sena (Thackeray faction) leader Vinayal Raut said insulting references to Shivaji will not be tolerated.

"Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is revered as a great person not only in Maharashtra but in the entire country. It is unfortunate that people holding constitutional posts have been making insulting references to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj repeatedly," Raut said.

BJP MP and Shivaji Maharaj's descendent Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhonsle had also written to PM Modi about the incident. In the letter to PM Modi, he wrote, "I would like to bring to your notice the irresponsible remarks made by the Governor and Sudhanshu Trivedi in regards to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and following that the cascading effect of lucid and derogatory comments made by responsible people of the party, of which I too happen to be a member, and has been entrusted a Rajya Sabha seat".

Notably, on December 3, Bhonsle had also arrived at the Raigad Fort in Maharashtra to express his protest against Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi over their alleged remarks on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. 

On the whole incident, the Governor wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah stating he would never imagine even in his dream to insult icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. 

"I cannot even imagine in my dreams to insult icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharana Pratap and Shri Guru Govind Singh. You are aware that I do not hesitate to express regrets or apologise immediately even if I unintentionally made a mistake," Koshyari stated in the letter addressed to Shah dated 6 December.

Meanwhile, the opposition Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the Maharashtra assembly has announced a massive protest march in Mumbai on December 17 against the Eknath Shinde government for insulting Shivaji Maharaj and on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute while also demanding to remove Maharashtra's Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari over his controversial remark over Shivaji.

(With inputs from agencies)

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