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‘Mumbai won’t be financial capital if Gujaratis, Rajasthanis are not here’: Maharashtra Governor’s remark triggers row

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's statement has drawn backlash from leaders across political parties. He has said his remarks have been “misconstrued”.

"Mumbai, which is known as the financial capital of India, would not be able to remain the same," Koshyari said.

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has landed in a controversy by saying that if Gujaratis and Rajasthanis are removed from the state, it would be left with no money. His statement on Friday has drawn backlash from leaders across political parties.

While addressing a gathering in Mumbai’s Andheri on Friday, Koshyari said, “… if Gujarati and Rajasthani people are removed from Maharashtra, especially Mumbai and Thane, there would be no money left here. You call Mumbai the financial capital, but if these (Gujarati and Rajasthani) people are not here, then it won’t be called financial capital.”

On Saturday, the Governor said his remarks had been “misconstrued” and asked political parties “not to create controversy”.

“I had no intention to look down upon Marathi people. I merely spoke about the contribution of Gujarati and Rajasthani people. It is the Marathi population which has developed Maharashtra to its present position… there is no question of demeaning Marathi people.

“But my statement was misconstrued, like always. Marathi people have played the major part in developing Maharashtra. We have started looking at things from a political prism, and we need to change it. Praise of one community cannot be the insult of another. Political parties should not create controversy. I will never insult Marathi people,” Koshyari said.

Reacting to his statement, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said nobody could deny the contribution of Marathi people to the development of Mumbai. “We do not endorse the statement made by the Governor. It is his personal statement. In fact, nobody can deny the contribution of Marathi people in the development of Mumbai,” he said.

The BJP distanced itself from Koshyari’s comments. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters in Dhule, “The BJP does not endorse the Governor’s statement. The role of Marathis (the sons of the soil) is immense in Mumbai, Maharashtra.” He added that Marathi industrialists and entrepreneurs have contributed hugely and earned recognition not only in Maharashtra but globally.

BJP MLA Ashish Shelar said, “We don’t agree with the Governor’s statement on Mumbai. Maharashtra and Mumbai have been built with hard work, sweat and sacrifice of Marathi manoos.”

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Meanwhile, former chief minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said he was “not satisfied” with the Koshyari’s explanation. “The Governor must apologise,” he said.

“He has not only hurt Marathi people, but has divided Hindus. The Governor comes here under oath. Is it his work to divide communities? If it is an offence, then he should be punished by law,” Thackeray added.

Earlier, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had condemned the remarks and said the Governor had insulted hard-working Marathi people. “Soon after the BJP-sponsored Chief Minister came to power, the Marathi man is getting insulted,” Raut tweeted.

Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh Saturday said, “His name is ‘Koshiyari’. But as a Governor there is not a bit of ‘smartness’ in what he says and does. He is sitting on the chair only because we faithfully obey the command of ‘we two’.”

Congress leader Sachin Sawant, too, reacted to the statement. “It is terrible that the Governor of a state defames the people of the same state. During his reign, the level of the institution of the Governor and the political tradition of Maharashtra has not only deteriorated, but Maharashtra has also been continuously disrespected,” he said.

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Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray, in a tweet, said, “If you don’t know anything about Maharashtra’s history, then don’t talk about it.”

NCP’s Supriya Sule NCP hit out at the Governor: “Enough. Time to send the Governor back to his home state Uttarakhand.”

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said the Governor’s remarks were an “insult to the hard work of the people of Maharashtra” and demanded an apology from him.

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“This is an insult to the hard work of the people of Maharashtra and Marathi Manoos who have toiled day in and day out to make the state the leading state of the country. The Governor should apologise immediately, failing which, we will demand to replace him,” Chaturvedi tweeted.

First published on: 30-07-2022 at 11:07:46 am
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