Mumbai: Amid the ongoing political tussle between the Shiv Sena factions, the Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari steered himself into a controversy with his remarks that if Gujaratis and Rajasthanis were to leave Maharashtra, the state would have no money left.
During a speech on Friday, Koshyari said, “If Gujaratis and Rajasthanis are removed from Maharashtra, especially Mumbai and Thane, there would be no money would left here,” and further underlined his message, saying, “Mumbai would not be able to remain the financial capital of the country,” Koshyari added.
Koshyari’s statement was strongly condemned by the opposition parties including the Shiv Sena, NCP, Congress and MNS, who demanded an apology from him and asked the Centre to recall him.
Even Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis chose to distance himself from Governnor Koshyari's remarks.
"I don't agree with [the] Governor's statement. Marathi people have contributed to process of development of Maharashtra. Many other people [have been involved] involved in this development journey, but [the] importance of Marathi people cannot [be] diminish[ed]," Fadnavis told news agency ANI.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said it was time to display ‘Kolhapuri chappals’, reacting to Koshyari’s statement on the ‘Marathi Manoos’.
“I want to know what these neo-Hindus who have come to power in Maharashtra think about this. The government must clarify its stand. If this parcel from Delhi is dividing communities, then he should be sent back. And if has committed a crime, then he should be sent to jail,” he said.
“The governor has committed the crime of polarising and insulting the people of Maharashtra and Marathi identity. He has committed a crime of dividing the people, especially in Mumbai and Thane ahead of elections,” said Thackeray.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray also lashed out at Koshyari, saying, “With the elections around the corner, one should not spread any rumours. Do not assume that we are innocent to believe this. Do not fool the ‘Marathi Manoos’.”
NCP MP Supriya Sule termed Koshyari’s statement ‘divisive’, alleging that he had defamed India.
“Not just Mumbai, he has defamed Maharashtra and India. Unity in diversity is what India stands for, we are so proud of all our states and cultures. It is so unfortunate that there is a divisive policy being created. We love all the states because at the core, we are all Indians and proud to be Indian,” she said.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut put out a series of tweets slamming Koshyari. He claimed that the governor’s statement implied that Maharashtra and Marathi people were beggars.
“Chief Minister Shinde, are you listening? That your Maharashtra is different. If you have self-respect, then seek the resignation of the governor,” he tweeted.
State Congress general secretary, Sachin Sawant, said, “It is terrible that the governor defames the very people of the state. Keeping aside Gujarati and Rajasthani issues, he should be sent back immediately.
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said, “His name is ‘Koshyari’. But what he speaks and does as a governor, there is not the slightest ‘hoshiyari’ (smartness).’’
CM, DyCM distance themselves from Guv remarks Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said he did not agree with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s remarks on Mumbai, asserting that the contribution of Marathi people to the growth of the city could never be disregarded. Shinde would meet the governor on Monday and hand over a letter expressing his displeasure and he would also speak to BJP leaders from Delhi.
“We don't agree with Koshyari’s view (on Mumbai). It’s his personal view. He has now issued a clarification. He occupies a constitutional post and should take care that his actions are not insulting to others,” said Shinde.
“The hard work of the Marathi community has contributed to the development and progress of Mumbai. It is an important city with immense potential. Despite people from all over the country making it their home, Marathi people have preserved their identity and pride and it shouldn’t be insulted,” he added.
Shinde said 105 people had sacrificed their lives in the agitation to make Mumbai the capital of Maharashtra and the founder of the Shiv Sena, the late Bal Thackeray, had played a role in preserving the city’s Marathi identity.
“No one can insult Mumbai and Marathi people. Mumbai has faced many calamities but it never stops, it continues to work 24x7 and gives employment, livelihood to thousands of people,” the chief minister added.
Fadnavis said Marathi-speaking people had the lion’s share in the development and growth of Maharashtra.
“Even in the industrial sector, Marathi speaking people have taken global strides. We don’t agree with the governor’s remarks,” he noted.