Himanta Sarma's Theory On Why Uddhav Thackeray Lost Shiv Sena Symbol Fight

Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the temple yesterday on the occasion of Shivratri

New Delhi:

Uddhav Thackeray lost the name and symbol of the Shiv Sena “because of politics over God”, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said, referencing a tussle between Maharashtra and Assam over a religious site.

The two states are locked in a row over which state has the sixth Jyotirlinga Bhimashankar — one of the twelve most revered places of worship of Lord Shiva.

“Shiv ji resides in the Himalayas, it is not right to narrow him down to a particular place. The opposition in Maharasthra should stop doing politics in the name of Shiv ji. This is the reason Shiv Sena (Uddhav faction) lost its symbol,” he said.

Mr Sarma’s swipe at Team Thackeray came after the former Maharashtra Chief Minister lost the name and ‘bow and arrow’ symbol of the Shiv Sena – founded by his father Bal Thackeray – to Eknath Shinde, who led a coup in the party last year. The rebellion led by the Mr Shinde toppled the Uddhav Thackeray government and split the party into half.

While Mr Thackeray had not commented on the Jyotirlinga episode, his son Aaditya had dismissed it as a needless controversy and questioned the Eknath Shinde-led government’s silence. Leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, who were coalition partners in the Uddhav Thackeray government, have spoken out on the issue, alleging that the BJP was earlier stealing Maharashtra’s industries, but has now started looting its cultural heritage too.

What is a Jyotirlinga?

Jyotirlinga means a “luminous beam”. According to Hindu mythology, these are places where Lord Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. It is believed that there are 64 jyotirlingas in all, but 12 of them are considered very holy. These are called Mahajyotirlingas. Each of these 12 jyotirlingas are named after the presiding deity. These are Somnath and Nageshwar (Gujarat), Mallikarjuna (Andhra Pradesh), Mahakaleshwar and Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand), Bhimashankar, Trimbakeshwar and Grishneshwar (Maharashtra), Vishwanath (Uttar Pradesh), Baidyanath (Jharkhand) and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu).

What is the controversy?

The ongoing row was sparked by media advertisements issued by the Assam government, welcoming devotees to the country’s sixth Jyotirlinga, Bhimshankar, in Kamrup. The advertisements had a photograph of Mr Sarma. The advertisements sparked a fierce backlash from Maharashtra leaders, who accused the BJP — in power in both Maharashtra and Assam — of stealing its cultural heritage. Mr Sarma later claimed that religious text Shiv Puran establishes that Bhimashankar is in Kamrup. “The ‘puran’ has descriptions of Dakini hill, Kamrup and the king of Kamrup. It is clearly written in the ‘Shiv Puran’ that ‘Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga’ is in Kamrup,” he said.

Who said what?

NCP leader and MP Supriya Sule posted a picture of the Assam government’s ad. “Have the BJP leaders decided not to keep anything for Maharashtra’s share? Earlier Maharashtra’s share of industry and employment was stolen and now our cultural and spiritual heritage is about to be stolen,” she tweeted. Congress’ Sachin Sawant echoed Ms Sule’s remarks and condemned the “highly preposterous claim”. Former minister and Mr Thackeray’s son Aaditya called it a “shocking claim”. “Has the CM spoken about it as yet? Have you heard him?”, he said in jibe at Chief Minister Shinde. Responding to questions over the controversy, BJP leader and Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said “Bhimashankar is ours”. “It is a jyotirlinga. Nothing is going to happen if somebody makes any claim,” he said.

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