Will Governor Koshyari get away with controversial remarks that undermine Marathi pride?

Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari’s comments crediting businessmen from Gujarat and Rajasthan for Mumbai’s status as India’s financial capital would have left CM Eknath Shinde highly embarrassed

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari (Photo Courtesy: IANS)

Sushil Kutty

It’s been a month since the Maha Vikas Aghadi government fell and Eknath Shinde took over as CM, with Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy. They haven’t yet started governing Maharashtra in earnest as there is no ministry in place, keeping both BJP and Shinde camp Shiv Sena MLAs on tenterhooks.

Don’t know about Devendra Fadnavis, but how’s it that Eknath Shinde can’t take a step without the BJP central leadership giving its nod? The more he delays ministry formation, the more he will lose credibility.

To add insult to injury, Governor BS Koshyari has made a curious comment that Mumbai wouldn’t be the financial capital of India if the Gujaratis and the Marwaris took their businesses to Gujarat and Rajasthan respectively. Now, the Marathi manoos are fuming, ready to go to battle.

It cannot be that Koshyari is a child who doesn’t understand the power of words to stir up trouble. From what’s being heard and told in Mumbai and Pune, Shambajinagar, Nagpur and Thane, the Marathi manoos will not take Koshyari’s remarks lying down.

Besides, much to Shinde’s discomfort, Koshyari has given the Thackeray clan an upper hand. And that includes cousin Raj Thackeray, who was ready to go slow on Marathi chauvinism, but cannot ignore it any longer after Koshyari’s bloomer! The MNS strongman is once again back where he always used to be, ready to defend Marathi and Maratha.

Koshyari could do with a political teacher. The man isn’t even Gujarati or Marwari, he is an Uttarakhandi! This is what he said: “Sometimes I tell people that if Gujaratis and Rajasthanis leave, there will be no money left in Mumbai and Mumbai will not be the financial capital. Gujarati and Marwari communities have contributed a lot in the development of Mumbai and Thane.’’

Haven’t we been hearing off and on, intermittently, that the BJP harbours a grandiose dream to sever cash-cow Mumbai from Maharashtra’s grasp? Koshyari was in fact speaking at a road-naming function in Andheri West, Mumbai. For all we know, this may well not be an off-the-cuff remark, but rather commonplace Koshyari-speak when Union Home Minister Amit Shah calls when nobody is about.

Koshyari is a prime example of the typical BJP governor. For reasons unknown, it would seem that BJP-appointed governors cannot rest unless they are spouting controversial remarks.

The surprising thing is, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde can’t complain to the BJP high command, which is now also the Shinde group’s high command. The searchlight is now on Shinde and his group of Shiv Sena MLAs who jumped the ship.

Koshyari is a serial offender when it comes to embarrassing chief ministers. He did it to a non-BJP chief minister and he is not beyond doing it to the chief minister toeing the BJP-line, hook, line and sinker. Shinde and his deputy Fadnavis could do without such distractions, they already have too much on their plate, wishes unfulfilled thanks to the overbearing BJP brass.

Previously, Koshyari never let go a chance to embarrass Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Perhaps, being BJP at his core, he doesn’t think much of Shiv Sainik Eknath Shinde, too. Let’s not forget that Devendra Fadnavis and Koshyari were a team throughout Thackeray’s reign. Koshyari was evidently in cahoots with Fadnavis when the latter was installed as Chief Minister in alliance with Ajit Pawar’s NCP, before Sharad Pawar cut that alliance short.

Neither Fadnavis nor Koshyari can do anything about that fact, no matter how much it might be an area of embarrassment for them.

(IPA Service)

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Published: 30 Jul 2022, 8:45 PM