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'If Gujaratis Are Removed...': Maharashtra Guv Sparks Row; Uddhav, Others React

While the BJP distanced itself, several Opposition leaders hit out at Koshyari, demanding that he apologise.

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Edited By :Karan Mahadik

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s comments on Friday, 29 July, which claimed that Maharashtra will have no money left if Gujaratis and Rajasthanis are taken out of the state, have landed him in controversy.

During a speech after the naming ceremony of a chowk in western Mumbai’s Andheri, the Maharashtra governor said, “If Gujaratis and Rajasthanis are removed from Maharashtra, especially Mumbai and Thane, no money would be left here."

“Mumbai would not be able to remain the financial capital of the country,” he added.

Addressing a press conference, Shiv Sena supremo and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray slammed Koshyari and added:

"Bhagat Singh Koshyari, as the governor of Maharashtra, enjoyed everything in Maharashtra in the last 2.5 years. He enjoyed Maharashtrian cuisine, now the time has come that he should see Kolhapuri chappal."

“Koshyari has crossed the limit. He should respect the chair he is occupying," Thackeray said.

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‘Marathi People Preserved Their Identity and It Shouldn’t Be Insulted’: CM Shinde

Talking to reporters in Malegaon in Nashik district, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said, "We don't agree with Koshyari's view. 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."

“Despite people from all over the country making it [Mumbai] their home, Marathi people have preserved their identity and pride and it shouldn't be insulted,'' Shinde added.

The chief minister also said, "No one can insult Mumbai and Marathi people. Mumbai faced many calamities but it never stops, it continues work 24x7 and gives employment, livelihood to thousands of people."

Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Dhule, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Marathi-speaking people have 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," Fadnavis said.

Several other leaders from the Shiv Sena and Congress also hit out at Koshyari and demanded that he apologise.

Uddhav Thackeray also said,

“The Governor is the messenger of the President, he takes the words of the President throughout the country. But if he does the same mistakes then who will take action against him? He has insulted the Marathis and their pride.”
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray

"In fact, it should be decided if he should be sent back or to prison," he further stated.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut also criticised the Maharashtra governor and condemned his remarks, saying that he has insulted hard-working Marathi people.

"Soon after the BJP sponsored Chief Minister came to power, the marathi man is getting insulted," Raut tweeted in Marathi.

Condemning the remarks, Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Sachin Sawant said that the governor should not have made them.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole also condemned the remarks and called for Koshyari’s immediate removal from office.

“We condemn the remarks made by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. He should apologise to the public. He should be removed from his position with immediate effect,” news agency ANI reported, quoting Patole.

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The BJP also distanced itself from Koshyari’s remarks. Hindustan Times quoted party leader Ashish Shelar as saying, “We do not agree with what the governor has said.”

Former Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar said that the governor should “avoid unnecessary statements” and added, “Akhand Maharashtra along with Mumbai, Thane has been built by Marathi people. Maharashtra has culture and history to take everyone along. Maharashtra is united. “

“Do not create controversy in Maharashtra,” Pawar tweeted,

NCP leader Supriya Sule, condemning the statement, said that the governor’s remarks belittle Marathi people and added, “105 martyrs shed their blood in the struggle of United Maharashtra for Mumbai. This city has stood because of the thunder fist of millions of Marathi people.”

Meanwhile, the Opposition candidate for vice presidential elections, Margaret Alva, said in a tweet, "The comments by the Governor of Maharashtra are unfortunate, but not unexpected. The message he’s received from the ex Governor of West Bengal’s candidature for VP is: controversy, foolish comments and operating like an extra constitutional authority, is behaviour that gets rewarded."

The Governor Clarifies

Meanwhile, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh veteran Koshyari issued a clarification over his contentious remarks. Speaking to ANI he said:

"Marathi people's contribution is the most in bringing up Maharashtra. Mumbai is the pride of Maharashtra. It is also the financial capital of the country.”

A release from the Raj Bhavan earlier had read, “The Governor hailed the contribution of Rajasthani-Marwari and Gujarati communities in making Mumbai the financial capital of India.”

According to the release, the governor said that the Rajasthani-Marwari community resides in different parts of India and also in nations like Nepal and Mauritius.

“Wherever members of the community go, they not only do business, but also do acts of philanthropy by creating schools, hospitals,” Governor Koshiyari added.

"I had no intention of underestimating Marathi people. I spoke only on the contribution made by Gujaratis and Rajasthanis. Marathi people built Maharashtra by working hard, this is why many Marathi entrepreneurs are famous today," the Maharashtra Governor's Office clarified.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI, and Hindustan Times.)

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