Religion is at the center of a political controversy in Maharashtra now as the Opposition has hit out at the BJP-Eknath Shinde combine for an advertisement by the Assam government which claims that India’s sixth Jyotirlinga lies in the state.
The advertisement has triggered opposition parties, with several political leaders from Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray group) slamming the government and seeking an immediate clarification on the sixth Jyotirlinga at Bheemashankar in Maharashtra.
“Leave aside industries, BJP wants to snatch away even Bhagwan Shiv from Maharashtra. Now BJP Assam govt claims that the sixth Jyotirlinga of Bhimashankar is situated in Assam & not in Maharashtra’s Pune district. We strongly condemn this highly preposterous claim. We demand Shinde Fadnavis govt to clarify their stand & unequivocally condemn this overbold action of bjp govt in Assam which has hurt emotions & sentiments of not only 12 cr ppl of Maharashtra but also beliefs of all Indians. BJP’s grudge against Maharashtra is seen again,” tweeted Sachin Sawant of Congress.
Similar sentiments were expressed by NCP legislator Supriya Sule who also took a jibe at Eknath Shinde. “Unconstitutional ED government, you had smuggled the entire army of MLAs to Guwahati. There, all the arrangements were made by Assam CM on behalf of an invisible power. Did you give them Bheemashankar Jyotirlinga in return at that time? One can’t deny this possibility,” she said in a sarcastic tweet.
She added: “Has the BJP leadership decided that it will not keep anything for Maharashtra? Earlier, they took away Maharashtra’s businesses and employment. Now, they are taking away our cultural and spiritual legacy as well.”
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray also took pot-shots at the government. Calling it a needless controversy, he said at a public rally last night: “It is shocking. The Assam government has now claimed that Bheemashankar is in Assam. Are there any less controversies already that you want to generate new ones? We have Bheemashankar’s Jyotirlinga. You want to push that aside, keep it hidden, and show that it is there. Has the CM spoken about it as yet? Have you heard him?”
The BJP on its part tried to do some damage control but barring one spokesperson of the party, others kept mum over the issue. “The Opposition is trying to create a needless controversy over the issue. Everyone has the right to express his or her opinion. But leaders like Supriya Sule, Aaditya Thackeray should at least try to take information on this before speaking. A 2021 circular of the central government says that Bheemashankar is in Maharashtra,” BJP MLA Ram Kadam stated.