PUNE: While the statues of 20th century icons Lenin and E V Ramasamy 'Periyar' are in news elsewhere, portrait of a 17th century figure, associated with King Shivaji's life, became the source of a heated row here today.
Members of Sambhaji Brigade, a Maratha outfit, and the Akhil Bhartiya Brahmin Mahasangh (ABBM) had a heated exchange when the latter tried to install a portrait of Dadoji Konddev, a Brahmin administrator in the service of Shahaji, Shivaji's father, on the premises of the Pune Municipal Corporation.
Today is the death anniversary of Konddev.
He became a controversial figure after the Sambhaji Brigade and some other Maratha organisations objected to his portrayal in history books as young Shivaji's mentor, saying he played no such important role in the Maratha warrior king's life.
When members of the Mahasangh, a Brahmin outfit, tried to install the portrait in a garden on the PMC premises today, Sambhaji Brigade members had a heated argument with them.
ABBM members later removed the portrait from the spot.
"We have been asking the PMC to install Konddev's statute in a public place. The PMC has not taken any decision. So we installed his portrait to highlight our demand. We will intensify the agitation if the PMC doesn't install his statue within a year," said Anand Dave, district president of ABBM.
Santosh Shinde of the Sambhaji Brigade said the ABBM was deliberately creating tension by raising the issue.
"We will continue to oppose them," he said.
Following a demand by some Maratha outfits, Konddev's statue was removed from the historical Lal Mahal palace in the city by the civic body in December 2010.