Raigad (Maharashtra), Jun 2 (IANS): Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said on Friday that a theme park on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj will come up in the foothills of Raigad on a 45-acre plot, while Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis announced that the state will urge the Centre to set up a national memorial dedicated to the Maratha icon in Delhi.
Speaking during the six-day long celebrations to mark the 350th anniversary of the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (June 6, 1674) here, Shinde said that he was a king of the poor farmers and the downtrodden who did not discriminate between people on the basis of their caste.
"He respected women and gave them equal opportunities to come forward... His governance style was focused on the people for whom he cared. We are fortunate that his teachings are still remembered and continue to inspire us," said Shinde.
The Chief Minister announced that an authority headed by Member of Parliament Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale – the 17th direct descendent of the Maratha warrior king – shall be set up for the conservation of the famed Pratapgad Fort in Satara, famed for the killing of Gen. Afzal Khan of the Sultanate of Bijapur.
Similarly, he said that the upcoming Mumbai Coastal Road – the first phase of which is nearing completion - shall be named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Fadnavis said that on behalf of the state government, he would urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set up a grand statue and national memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the national capital.
"The good governance, work and contributions of the great king continue to inspire us even today, and the PM also included Chhatrapati's emblem on the Indian Navy flag," said Fadnavis.
Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the state government will fully support the future celebrations of the Chhatrapati's coronation at the Raigad Fort.
"We are also trying to bring back the Jagdamba sword of the Chhatrapati, we shall make efforts for a memorial in Thanjavur, and have allocated Rs 5 crore for studies on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi," said Mungantiwar.
The famed Jagdamba sword, studded with diamonds and rubies, was gifted to the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edwar VIII, by Chhatrapati Shivaji IV during his visit to India in 1875. The invaluable sword is currently kept in the royal collection of the St James Palace in London.
Also present on the occasion were state ministers Uday Samant, Chandrakant Patil, Deepak Kesarkar, Girish Mahajan, Dadaji Bhuse, MPs Sunil Tatkare, Sadashiv Lokhande, Shrikant Eknath Shinde, MLAs, local representatives and a large number of people.