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Maha Governor tells PM Modi he wants to step down and retire

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MUMBAI, Jan 23 (PTI): Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who has been in the line of Opposition fire over his remarks on Chhatrapati Shivaji, on Monday said he has expressed desire before Prime minister Narendra Modi to quit the post.

The former Uttarakhand chief minister said he would like to spend the remainder of his life in reading, writing and other activities.

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“During the recent visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to Mumbai, I have conveyed to him my desire to be discharged of all political responsibilities and to spend the remainder of my life in reading, writing and other activities.

“I have always received the love and affection from the Hon’ble Prime Minister and I hope to receive the same in this regard,” a statement from the Raj Bhavan said.

PM Modi was in Mumbai on January 19 to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone for several infrastructure projects.

“It was an absolute honour and privilege for me to serve as the Rajya Sevak or Rajyapal of a great State like Maharashtra, the land of Saints, Social reformers and valiant fighters,” Koshyari added.

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Koshyari, 81, took charge as the Maharashtra governor in September 2019.

When the Uddhav Thakeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi was in power, he had several run-ins with the government on a range of issues including the appointment of 12 members to the state legislative council from the gubernatorial quota, which he never approved. The MVA had accused him of acting in a partisan manner.

The latest controversy surrounding Koshyari was about his remarks on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj whom he described as the “icon of olden times”. The remarks triggered protests from the Opposition parties demanding that he be sacked.

Following the row, Koshyari wrote to Union home minister Amit Shah stating he would never imagine even in his dream insulting icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Not new to controversy, Governor Koshyari had said Mumbai would not remain the financial capital of the country if people belonging to the Rajasthani and Gujarati communities decided to leave.

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His remark drew criticism from several opposition party leaders with former CM Uddhav Thackeray saying it is time to show him the famous Kolhapuri chappal and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut asking CM Eknath Shinde to condemn the Governor.

Amid the political impasse created after the 2019 Assembly elections when Shiv Sena severed ties with BJP, Koshyari administered the oath to Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister for the second time and NCP leader Ajit Pawar as Deputy CM.

However, the Fadnavis-Pawar government lasted for only 80 hours, paving the way for the Maha Vikas Aghadi experiment wherein Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress joined hands to form a coalition government.

Koshyari’s remark that Samarth Ramdas was the guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had also caused a furore.

Amid a political crisis triggered by Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde’s rebellion last June, Koshyari ordered a floor test of then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government.

However, Thackeray resigned as the chief minister on June 29, shortly after the Supreme Court refused to stay Koshyari’s direction to his government to take a floor test in the Assembly.

Koshyari administered the oath to Eknath Shinde, who headed the Shiv Sena faction, and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister and deputy CM, respectively, on June 30.

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