Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], June 15 (ANI): Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale has accused the Opposition of trying to give a "religious colour" to his demand after his proposal of naming a flyover in Mumbai after Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti was opposed by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Shewale on Monday said he wrote a letter to the Maharashtra Chief Minister demanding the Mankhurd flyover in Mumbai be named after Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti on the demands of the local people.
"As people's representative, it is my duty to convey the demands of the people to the government. This flyover is on the border of the south-central Lok Sabha constituency and MP Manoj Kotak's north east Mumbai Lok Sabha constituency. I was not aware of the demand made by Kotak to rename the flyover after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj," the Shiv Sena MP said in a statement.
He further called Chhatrapati Shivaji a "deity" of Maharashtra and said if the flyover is named after him, there will not be any opposition from Shiv Sena.
"I have come to know that some people want this flyover to be named after Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe also. The final decision on renaming the flyover will be taken by the BMC," he said.
He further alleged that the Opposition is trying to give a religious angle to the matter. "It is regrettable that some people are trying to politicise the issue by creating misconceptions about it and giving it a religious colour. The way I and Shiv Sena are being defamed on Social media is wrong. I want to tell those people that we are already going through a terrible time due to COVID."
Shewale had sparked a row after he wrote a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister demanding a flyover in Mumbai be named after Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti. The demand was opposed by BJP and VHP.
Addressing reporters, Shriraj Nair, VHP spokesperson in Mumbai had said the bridge being built in Mankhurd should be named after some eminent personality from Hindu culture otherwise the VHP will launch a "huge protest, whose further strategy will be decided when the time comes."
BJP leader Ram Kadam had said: "Shiv Sena remembers Lord Shri Ram whenever elections approach, they chant in favour of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The Sena wants people to vote in the name of Ram, vote in the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and after coming to power, Shiv Sena seems to be devoted to pro-Pakistan ideas."
"I demand from the Chief Minister that Mankhurd Bridge should be named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj", said Kadam.
Vice president of BJP's Maharashtra unit, Kirit Somaiya had said, "It is being said that Mankhurd flyover will be named after Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. Shiv Sena has left its saffron flag and is carrying a green flag in its hand."
Chishti was among the Sufi saints to arrive in India when Delhi was under the rule of Sultan Iltutmish. (ANI)