MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena Monday asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to declare that the statue of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj planned off the Mumbai coast will be the tallest in the world.
The party also asked Fadnavis not to be "scared" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah to declare this, adding having Shivaji's statue taller than that of Sardar Patel won't diminish the Iron Man's prestige.
The Sena said NCP's state unit chief Jayant Patil has claimed the height of Shivaji's statue has been decreased to ensure that Patel's Statue of Unity remains the tallest.
It said Fadnavis should use the same courage that he displayed in announcing quota for the Maratha community, and not be "scared" of Prime Minister Modi and Shah over the issue of Shivaji statue's height.
Decreasing the height of Shivaji's statue to make Sardar Patel's statue look taller is a "narrow and distorted mindset", the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"Fadnavis should use the same courage he showed while granting reservation to the Maratha community and fearlessly announce that Shivaji's statue would be the tallest in the world, and not get scared of Amit Shah and Modi.
This will not diminish the prestige of Sardar Patel," it said.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party reminded Fadnavis that earlier, then Union finance minister Chintamanrao Deshmukh in the Jawaharlal Nehru government had shown courage to tender his resignation, to ensure Mumbai stayed with Maharashtra.
The party rued that while the 'Statue of Unity' has already been unveiled and opened for public viewing, not a single brick has been laid for the construction of Shivaji's statue.
There are now doubts being raised if there was an internal conspiracy to make Shivaji's statue seem like a dwarf compared to the structure dedicated to Sardar Patel, it said.
Shivaji's statue should be larger than that of any other leader and all parties should come together for it, said the Sena, BJP's ally at the Centre and in Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Modi had on October 31 inaugurated the imposing 182-metre statue of Sardar Patel, the first home minister of independent India, in Gujarat's Narmada district.
The Congress and the NCP had said in the Maharashtra Assembly in July that the height of Shivaji's statue, to be built in the Arabian Sea off the Mumbai coast, was being reduced, a claim then rejected by Fadnavis, who had said it will be the tallest in the world.
In response to an RTI query, the BJP-led state government had said that certain "height specifications" of the Shivaji memorial were changed to reduce the project cost.
BJP-backed MLC Vinayak Mete, who is chairman of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Committee, Monday said the total height of the statue, including the pedestal, would be 212 metres.
The height of the statue and pedestal would be in the 60:40 ratio, he added.