Undeterred by state-wide protests by BJP, veteran NCP leader Ajit Pawar stuck to his statement that Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was Swarajya Rakshak and did not tender an apology or regret.
Pawar lashed out at BJP for demanding his resignation, saying that he had been made the leader of opposition by 53 NCP legislators and not by BJP. He accused BJP and "mastermind" of encouraging the party workers to stage protests against him across Maharashtra and said that it was the conspiracy to save party ministers, legislators and the Governor, who had made controversial statements against great men and icons of the state and insulted them.
What Ajit Pawar said about Sambhaji Maharaj
Pawar's defence came amid BJP’s statewide protest on his statement that Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj is Swarajya Rakshak and not Dharmaveer. He claimed that the alleged protests sponsored against him by the BJP was to divert attention from the core issues and also to play down the insult of great men and icons made by BJP ministers, legislators and the Governor.
"When will the action be taken against them? I brought on record what the Governor had made statements about great men and icons," he noted.
"I don't think I made a huge mistake. They (BJP) did not object when I made the speech in the state assembly. After two days, it was decided to organise protests against me. The mastermind was incidentally not there in the assembly as the agitation started after that," he said.
"I have pursued Sambhaji Maharaj’s memorial. I have never spoken wrong about great men, women. I stand by my statement. BJP has not given me the post of Leader of Opposition, so they have no right to demand my resignation. BJP has encouraged agitation against me. The ministers and legislators have made controversial statements about great men and icons, including the Governor but there has been no action against them. They are not ready to apologise nor are they apologetic," said Pawar.
'Right to opinion'
Pawar said everyone has the right to express their opinion adding that he has expressed his view, accept it or deny it. "I haven't committed any crime or spoken wrongly," he claimed.
"You can search on the internet who got the title of Dharmaveer. Seven to eight people are 'Dharmaveer'. Some have released films. Now Dharmaveer Part 2 is coming. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj protected the Swarajya created by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Sambhaji Maharaj carried out the responsibility of Swarajya Rakshak after the death of Chhatrapati Shivaji maharaj. So, there is only one Swaraj Rakshak and no one else can be," he opined.
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