Mumbai: After a furore in Maharashtra political circles and a threat by the Congress to launch an agitation on Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday washed its hands of a book drawing comparisons between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The BJP''s national media co-head Sanjay Mayukh issued a statement stating that "the party had nothing to do with the book" that has ruffled sentiments across the political spectrum.
"It''s the author''s personal viewpoint, so it is not our party publication, nor are we connected with it in any manner. The writer has also said that since it has hurt anybody''s emotions, he is withdrawing the book," Mayukh said in a statement on Monday evening.
The abrupt withdrawal of the book ''Aajke Shivaji: Narendra Modi'', penned by Jai Bhagwan Goyal -- released with much fanfare in New Delhi on Sunday -- is likely to cool down temperatures in state political circles.
The Maharashtra Congress threatened to launch a statewide agitation on Tuesday to protest against what it termed a "contempt" of the great Maratha king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
State Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said attempts were made even in the past by some BJP activists to make such comparisons.
"Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is a revered idol of the masses in the state. Those who sought votes in his name are now making mischievous attempts to insult him in this manner," said Thorat.
He alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi held the nation to ransom with the new citizenship law CAA and NRC and has ruled the country in an autocratic manner. "He can never be compared with the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj".
Earlier, top leaders of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress slammed the BJP after the book, penned by Jai Bhagwan Goyal, kicked off a huge political storm in Maharashtra.
Sena''s Sanjay Raut asked whether this was "acceptable" to the descendents of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Satara and Kolhapur dynasties like Udayanraje Bhosale and Shivendraraje Bhosale, respectively, and urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to intervene and recall the book.
NCP state President and Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil said: "Tall and vast as the Sahyadri mountain ranges, my king cannot be compared with anybody. Keep this in mind, or elsea you have to face Maharashtra."
NCP''s Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad burst out: "Have they lost their mind?", while Congress General Secretary Sanjay Dutt demanded to know why the BJP or its Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis have not yet condemned the development and kept silent.
Congress'' state spokesperson Sachin Sawant called it as "an insult to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj''s philosophy," and NCP''s national spokesperson and Minorities Development Minister Nawab Malik demanded that "the offensive book must be immediately banned".
Based in New Delhi, Goyal is a former Shiv Sena leader who had quit the party in 2008 to protest against its anti-north Indian stance and joined BJP in 2014.