Days after ECI recognises the Eknath Shinde faction as the ‘real’ Shiv Sena, the party and its alliance partner BJP mark the occasion with a celebration of the Maratha king at Agra Fort
As the legend goes, back in 1666, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb summoned Shivaji Maharaj to Agra. He was later put under house arrest along with his then-nine-year-old son Sambhaji. However, being an astute military general, Shivaji Maharaj successfully planned his escape, along with his son.
The incident holds immense significance to Maratha history, for it is hailed as a display of Shivaji Maharaj’s valour in the heart of the Mughal kingdom.
This triumphant significance will be highlighted once again as Maharashtra’s Chief minister Eknath Shinde celebrates Shiv Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the great Maratha king, at Agra Fort. This is for the first time that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj will be hailed at the ‘Diwan-e-Aam’.
But it is not CM Shinde alone, for he will be accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Chief minister Yogi Adityanath. CM Yogi Adityanath is one of the key leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who is an ally of CM Shinde in Maharashtra.
Coming just days after the Election Commission of India (ECI) recognised the CM Shinde-led faction of Shiv Sena as the real Shiv Sena while awarding it the party name and the symbol – the famous bow and arrow.
The move to recognise the Shinde-led faction as the real Shiv Sena was seen as a big letdown for former CM Uddhav Thackeray, who is the son of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackery.
In fact, it was the Thackeray family who had harped on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s legacy and formed government in Maharashtra three times.
Invoking Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s legacy on such a grand scale is also seen as the BJP and Shinde’s way of celebrating ECI’s decision. While many are looking at it as an effort to further sideline the Thackerays – who drifted away from the BJP to join hands with Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, paid rich tribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Home minister Amit Shah was in Maharashtra to inaugurate the first phase of Shiv Srishti, the theme park based on the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, one of the BJP’s most powerful leaders in Maharashtra, was also present.
In Delhi, the Maharashtra Sadan wore a festive look as people from all walks of life came to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Maratha ruler.