MUMBAI – In an unprecedented development, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday admitted that he has “erred” in praising the contribution of certain communities and sought “forgiveness” from the people of the state.
In a signed statement, he said: “I may have made some mistake in praising the contribution of certain communities in the development of Mumbai at a public function on July 29.”
Not only Maharashtra, everyone has made a special contribution to the development of the entire country, added Koshyari – who has courted many controversies in the past.
Today, the country is moving towards progress, especially due to the generosity of the state concerned and the bright traditions of taking everyone along together, he said.
Koshyari acknowledged that in his almost three years (as Governor), he got immense love from the people of Maharashtra, and he tried to increase the respect of the state and the Marathi language.
“But, if I have unknowingly made some mistake in my speech, it should not be construed as any kind disrespect for this great state… In the best traditions of the great saints of Maharashtra, it will show your large heart by forgiving this humble servant of the state,” appealed Koshyari humbly, even as the issue had died a natural death.
The Governor’s statement of regret – not witnessed by the state in its history – came four days after his comments lauding the Gujarati and Rajasthani communities for their benefaction to the progress of Mumbai and Thane, and how – if they were removed – Mumbai would lose its money and status as the country’s commercial capital.
The utterances had sparked off a massive political row, with the ruling coalition of rebel Shiv Sena leader and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis slamming the Governor.
On the opposition front, Shiv Sena President and ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party, Congress, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and others had hit out at the Governor and issued calls for his recall by the Centre.
Thackeray had even declared that the time had come to “show the Kolhapuri chappals (footwear)” to the Governor, while the Shinde group had warned it would complain against him to the Central government.
After the unexpected backlash, the Governor had quickly clarified that his words were taken out of context “as usual” and reaffirmed the contributions of Marathis to Mumbai which is the pride of Maharashtra and also the country’s commercial capital.
“I had no intentions to underestimate the Marathis… they have built Maharashtra by sheer hard work and there are many leading Marathi industrialists here, and are famous not only in the state but all over India and the world. Praising one community does not amount to insulting others,” said Koshyari on Saturday.
He reiterated that he was proud of the opportunity to serve the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the Maharashtrians as the Governor he had even learnt Marathi in a very short time. -IANS