Shivaji’s two descendants, Udayanraje and Sambhajiraje are a headache for their own parties

Udayanraje Bhosale, an NCP MP from Satara and the 13th descendant of Maratha ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji, often puts his party in an awkward and embarrassing situation.

Not to be outdone, another descendant from Shivaji’s lineage, Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati, is now becoming a headache for the party he is associated with – BJP – criticising the BJP-led state government with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at the helm, as far as its reservation policy goes.

The two dynasts from 17th century Maratha king’s lineage – Udayanraje (53) from Satara kingdom and Sambhajiraje (48) from Kolhapur – are a big draw among Marathas; which is why both the NCP and BJP have inducted them.

However, both are now seen as “problem” for the respective parties.

Sambhajiraje is a Rajya Sabha MP and his criticism of the Maratha reservation policy of Devendra Fadnavis has left some leaders disappointed.

Fadnavis government recently granted 16 per cent reservation to Marathas for education and jobs. Sambhajiraje said the present policy by the Fadnavis government does not include free education to students till graduation or Class 12th. “It has several flaws and is not as per the Rajashri Shahu,” said Sambhajiraje, demanding that every student should be offered free education.

It was Shahu Maharaj, an erstwhile king of Kolhapur, who first offered reservation to downtrodden in 1907. Sambhajiraje’s remarks came against the backdrop of 16-year-old boy from Osmanabad who committed suicide.

Ironically, Sambhajiraje and his family controls educational institutes in Pune which do not offer “free education” to students so far.

Low profile and soft spoken, Sambhajiraje unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Kolhapur in 2009. The face of Maratha protest for reservation in 2016-17, Sambhajiraje was offered the RS ticket by the BJP from the president’s quot.

While the BJP did not officially react to Sambhajiraje’s remarks, two leaders HT spoke to said on the condition of anonymity that such demands may revive unrest in the state.

“Sambhajiraje is making remarks to retain his support base after Maratha reservation wave has ebbed. Sambhajiraje is demanding free education knowing it is not possible,” said Prakash Pawar, professor, political science, Shivaji University.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Udayanraje, a three-time MP, has been a perennial trouble maker and has caused much heartburn among party leaders. Recently, Udayanraje targeted senior NCP leader Ramraje Nimbalkar over diversion of water to Baramati to keep “masters” happy. Udayanraje’s remarks also created embarrassing situation for party chief Sharad Pawar.

Miffed over remarks, Nimbalkar asked party to reign in Uadayanraje. “Please control your MP or allow us to leave party,” Nimbalkar had said.

First Published:
Jun 26, 2019 16:29 IST

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