Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a deity of Maharashtra and does not belong to any specific community, state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Nitin Gadkari has said, as controversy raged over the appointment of a noted historian on a committee to build a giant memorial of the Maratha king.
The great Maratha warrior does not belong to any specific community and he never indulged in casteism during his rule, he said while talking to reporters.
Appointment of Babasaheb Purandare, a respected historian who has popularised the life and times of the 17th century king, on the government panel is being opposed by some leaders in the state.
Gadkari described as unfortunate Nationalist Congress Party functionary Vinayak Mete's remarks against Purandare, a Brahmin, and said people will not accept casteist politics on the issue.
The state government has proposed the construction of a 309- feet high statue of Shivaji in the Arabian Sea, off Marine Drive, in South Mumbai. The statue is part of a Rs 300-crore project to build a memorial of the revered Maratha figure.
Gadkari said the Shiv Sena-BJP combine worked well in the Lok Sabha elections and declared that the alliance will "contest the forthcoming assembly elections together".