Days after a bust of Chhatrapati Shivaji at a road trisection at Sausar in MP’s Chhindwara district was removed by the administration on the ground that it was put up without requisite permission, local Congress MP and Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath has said two life-size statues of the 17th-century warrior king would be installed in the district.
The statues will come up at Sausar and Pandhurna in Chhindwara district. Both towns are close to the border of Maharashtra, where the Congress is in an alliance with Shiv Sena. The removal of the bust using an excavator on Monday night had caused ripples in the neighbouring state after former BJP ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Devendra Fadnavis slammed the ruling Congress.
Chouhan followed up his attack on the state government with a visit to Sausar on Saturday where he led a march and addressed a rally. He worshipped the bust that has been kept in the office of the civic body and also performed bhoomipujan amid chants of “Jai Bhavani Jai Shivaji”.
Accusing the Congress of insulting great personalities, the senior BJP leader said, “We will decapitate ourselves but won’t tolerate the insult to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.’’ He alleged that the bust could not have been removed without a phone call “from the top”. “Who ordered the removal should be investigated and the guilty punished,’’ he said.
After the BJP targeted his government on the issue, Chief Minister Kamal Nath had asked his son and Chhindwara MP Nakul to install a life-size statue at the same spot. Nakul then said he would spend from his own pocket and ensure that the statue is installed after a grand ceremony. Chhindwara is the only seat in Madhya Pradesh that the Congress won in the Lok Sabha elections last year.
Referring to the announcement that the MP will spend from his pocket, Chouhan accused him of being arrogant about money. Nakul was the richest candidate in the state, as per his election affidavit. Chouhan said people will raise money and won’t accept a penny from Nakul. “We may be poor but we have self-respect,’’ he said. Chouhan even took a dig at Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, saying that if Balasaheb Thackeray was around, he would have broken the alliance with Congress and NCP. He also criticised NCP chief Sharad Pawar for keeping quiet on the issue.
Nakul, meanwhile, tweeted copies of a proposal about installing a Shivaji statue at Ambika Chowk in Pandhurna when Chouhan was chief minister. Accusing Chouhan of not giving permission for the statue and for the renaming of Ambika Chowk after Chhatrapati Shivaji, the MP said a life-size statue would now be installed there too. He also said Chouhan’s visit to Sausar was “politicking”.