PUNE: Pune Municipal Corporation mayor Mohan Singh Rajpal, on Wednesday, assured activists of the Lokshashan Andolan, led by former judges P B Sawant and B G Kolse Patil, that he would get the statute of Dadaji Kondeo shifted from the Lal Mahal premises within 24 hours.
The mayor, in effect, accepted the Andolan's stand that the much respected Brahmin had not played any role in mentoring Shivaji Maharaj.
The mayor, who came out of the general body meeting which was in progress at the time, to specially address the rally led by the two former judges, said he would keep his word, even if it meant stepping down from office.
Standing committee chairman Arvind Shinde, who addressed the rally soon after the mayor, went a step ahead saying the Maratha community was capable of removing the statute on its own should the PMC go back on its promise.
Shivaji Maharaj had spent his childhood at the Lal Mahal near Shaniwarwada where, several historians believe, he honed the skills required of a future warrior under the watchful eyes of his mother Jijabai and tutor Dadaji Kondeo.
However, organisations like the Lokshashan Andolan and Maratha Mahasangh say there exists no historical evidence of Dadaji Kondeo having taught the art of warfare to Shivaji Maharaj.
Earlier, over 3,000 activists under the banner of the Lokshashan Andolan gathered at the PMC gate, saying they would not leave the PMC premises until the mayor came out with an assurance on their demand.
Meanwhile, former Justice B G Kolse-Patil and several activists of the Andolan, including Purushottam Khedekar, Mukund Kakde and Prataprao Borade, were arrested by the Pune police and taken to the police headquarters at Shivajinagar.
FIRM ON STAND
Late night, the mayor Mohan Singh Rajpal issued a letter to the municipal commissioner Mahesh Zagade asking him to shift Dadaji Kondeo's statute from Lal Mahal, after duly considering the law and order situation in the city.
"I stand by my statement that the statue should be removed,'' the mayor told Sakal Times, adding that the final decision rests with the commissioner. Interestingly, the all party meet which the mayor convened late evening, could not arrive at any decision. "Many leaders left half way through the meeting saying they would like to discuss the matter with their party leaders,' the mayor said.