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Vada-Pav spices up politics in Maharashtra

Pune: The spicy `vada-pav`, called poor man`s burger in Maharashtra, had perhaps never generated such political heat in the state before.

First it was Shiv Sena, which set up `Shiv Vada Pav` stalls in Mumbai, followed by the `Swabhiman Sanghatana` led by state cabinet minister Narayan Rane`s son Nitesh, which raised `Chhatrapati Vada-Pav` stalls alongside Shiv Sena`s outlets last week, challenging the Mumbai civic body to first take action against Shiv Sena`s "illegal" stalls.

Now, a Maratha body, owing allegiance to NCP MP Udayan Raje Bhosale, has also jumped into the fray, threatening agitation if Nitesh Rane failed to remove the prefix "Chhatrapati" from the brand name, saying it is an insult to the Marathi warrior king Shivaji.

Opposition to the `Chhatrapati Vada-Pav` stems from the word `Chhatrapati` which, in Marathi denotes a royal title and lineage with the Maratha warrior king. MP Bhosale himself is a descendant of king Shivaji.

President of Satara-based `Chhatrapati Pratishthan` Shivaji Bhosale told PTI today that Udayan Raje would initiate legal action against the promoters of `Chhatrapati Vada-Pav` if the tag word `Chhatrapati` was not removed by the deadline of July 10, by `Swabhiman`, a social organisation that undertakes activities beyond the Congress party fold.

Pushkaraj Ghodge-Patil, lawyer representing Udayan Raje Bhosale said, "To give a tag of Chhatrapati to a snack sold on footpaths is tantamount to defaming a great personality like Shivaji Maharaj and insulting his inspirational memory across the state and the country".

The Chhatrapati Pratishthan was joined by another Maratha outfit `Sambhai Brigade`, as its president Pradip Salunke declared its support to the proposed agitation, condemning both `Shiv Vada-Pav` of the Sena and the `Chhatrapati` brand of `Swabhiman` for trivializing the heritage of Shivaji Maharaj.

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