Raj Thackeray criticizes Sharad Pawar’s “Fear of minorities” dig over Shivaji Maharaj tribute

Thackeray critized Pawar for allegedly avoiding references to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in his speeches and rallies out of fear of alienating minority voters.

In a recent political spat, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief, Raj Thackeray, has taken aim at Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar, accusing him of succumbing to “fear of minorities” in his political rhetoric. Thackeray’s criticism came in response to Pawar’s sudden homage to the revered Maratha king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, during a public address.

Thackeray’s remarks were spurred by Pawar’s speech at the formal launch of his party’s new symbol, the ‘man blowing turha’, from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s historic Raigad Fort. The symbolism was not lost on observers, as the turha, a trumpet-like instrument, holds significant cultural and historical importance, often associated with the valorous era of the Maratha kingdom.

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In his address, Pawar emphasized the historical significance of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s legacy and the symbolic resonance of the turha, suggesting a resurgence of Maratha pride under the banner of the NCP. This strategic move, however, drew sharp criticism from Thackeray, who accused Pawar of opportunism and political expediency.

Thackeray critized Pawar for allegedly avoiding references to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in his speeches and rallies out of fear of alienating minority voters.Thackeray remarked that Sharad Pawar, who had never even mentioned the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was now remembering him,thus insinuating a calculated political motive behind Pawar’s newfound reverence. He suggested that Pawar’s sudden embrace of Shivaji Maharaj’s legacy was a bid to court Maratha sentiment and bolster his electoral prospects.

Pawar’s faction, however, swiftly responded to Thackeray’s accusations, dismissing them as baseless and politically motivated. Mahesh Tapse, a prominent leader within the NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar faction, asserted that Thackeray should instead learn from Pawar’s political acumen and ability to mobilize support across diverse communities.

 Tapse remarked that Raj Thackeray’s party MNS was on the verge of political extinction in Maharashtra. He suggested that instead of focusing on Sharad Pawar, Thackeray should take lessons from Pawar,highlighting Pawar’s enduring influence and organizational prowess within Maharashtra’s political landscape.

The exchange underscores the intense competition and shifting alliances within Maharashtra’s political arena, particularly in the lead-up to crucial elections. As parties vie for supremacy and seek to consolidate their voter bases, historical symbols and cultural icons often become focal points for ideological battles and strategic maneuvering.

While Thackeray’s critique resonates with some sections of the electorate, Pawar’s deft navigation of Maharashtra’s complex political terrain reflects his enduring relevance and influence. As both leaders seek to carve out their respective political legacies, their divergent approaches to leveraging historical symbols like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj reflect broader tensions and dynamics within Maharashtra’s political ecosystem.