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MahaYuti's Kolhapur LS nominee questions rival Chhatrapati’s royal credentials; backtracks

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MahaYuti's Kolhapur LS nominee questions rival Chhatrapati’s royal credentials; backtracks

Kolhapur, April 11 (Ajit Weekly News) The ruling MahaYuti-Shiv Sena Lok Sabha candidate from Kolhapur ignited a row after he questioned the royal credentials of his rival and Congress nominee, Chhatrapati Shrimant Shahu Maharaj, here on Thursday.

At an election rally, Maharashtra’s ruling Shiv Sena’s sitting MP Sanjay S. Mandlik, hoping for a repeat performance, raised the issue of his opponent Chhatrapati’s distinguished lineage and claimed that the latter was ‘an adopted royal’.

In his speech, Mandlik questioned whether the Maharajas (Chhatrapati) are actually from Kolhapur, and claimed that “they are not the true heirs, but are adopted”, and it is “the people of Kolhapur” who are the genuine legacy holders.

Nationalist Congress Party (SP) President Sharad Pawar was among the earliest to react and said the statement proved how low the ruling party players can stoop, and shows their mentality towards the Opposition candidates.

“Adoption in royal families is not new… Many have become kings/rulers in this way in the past. For, once they are adopted, they become the rightful representative of that royal lineage. Chhatrapati Shrimant Shahu Maharaj is a highly revered figure in the public mind,” said Sharad Pawar.

The NCP (SP) supremo pointed out that the Chhatrapati is following in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor Chhatrapati Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj, and has set up a string of renowned educational institutions for which the people all over the state are indebted to him.

A livid Congress chief spokesperson Atul Londhe said that “Mandlik has blatantly insulted the royal dynasty of the Kolhapur Chhatrapati, whose immense contributions to the people of the state and country cannot be underplayed or compared with anybody”.

In a sharp reaction, Shiv Sena (UBT) national spokesperson Kishore Tiwari said that Mandlik’s utterances were in “very poor taste, considering the standing of the Kolhapur Chhatrapati among the masses”, and urged his (Shiv Sena) party leaders including Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to take serious note.

“But, what can we expect from the people who have hijacked the father of Shiv Sena (UBT) chief and ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray, the late Balasaheb Thackeray, and broke the party he had founded (Shiv Sena). The people of Kolhapur will show the MahaYuti-Shiv Sena candidate Mandlik his place,” said Tiwari.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pravin Darekar attempted to defend Mandlik by saying that “he may not have intended to belittle the Chhatrapati who is a very respected person”, and suspected it “could be a slip of the tongue”.

Rattled by the outrage triggered by his utterances, by late evening Mandlik sought to clarify his position, claiming he had no intention to malign the Chhatrapati in any manner and his comments were misinterpreted.

Mandlik’s remarks, which were labelled as ‘outrageous’ on social media, served to heat up the morose poll campaign witnessed in the past few days and could generate higher temperatures in the coming weeks before the May 7 election.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])

–Ajit Weekly News

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