New Delhi: Savarkar came back to haunt the Congress on Friday with its new-found ally Shiv Sena and rival BJP coming down heavily on the party over a booklet by the Seva Dal which made insinuations about his relationship with Nathuram Godse, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin.
The booklet was distributed at a camp of the Seva Dal, a frontal organisation of the Congress, in Madhya Pradesh.
The Congress had trouble with the Shiv Sena last month when party leader Rahul Gandhi had said at a rally in Delhi that he would not apologise as he was “Gandhi not Savarkar”.
On Friday the Sena lashed out at the Congress saying it had “dirt” in its mind and had questioned Savarkar’s credentials as a patriot.
“Veer Savarkar was a great man and will remain a great man. A section keeps talking against him. This shows the dirt in their mind,” Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, responding to the insinuations in the booklet, titled Veer Savarkar, Kitne Veer?
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis demanded that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ban a booklet. He said the Congress had exhibited its “wicked” psyche by circulating such a booklet, which underscored its “intellectual bankruptcy”.
The BJP described the insinuation as abhorrent and perverted. It also demanded an apology from the Congress. BJP general secretary Anil Jain said, “The world knows various relationships of Congress leaders” but that he did not want to throw such muck.
BJP national spokesperson said that during freedom struggle Congress leaders lived “in comfort” in prison and wrote books, but Savarkar faced torture in the Cellular Jail.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said Congress should apologise for the “perverted” content in the booklet. “The booklet contains lies and perverted content. The Congress should tender an apology,” Mr Patil said.
“Savarkar was acquitted in the Gandhi assassination case. Despite this, the Congress-affiliated organisation is trying to link him and the accused in the case,” he said.
Smriti questions Congress
Mr Jain alleged that except for one family nobody was worthy of respect for the Congress. He accused the party of denigrating leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Bhimrao Ambedkar and Savarkar.
Union minister Smriti Irani questioned the Congress how long would it “insult the sacrifices” of Savarkar and said the Opposition party will have to answer the people of Maharashtra and all patriots in the country.
She also questioned if it was “the Gandhi clan’s birthright” to “humiliate” Veer Savarkar.
“The Congress, which is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, will have to answer to the Marathi people and all patriots in the country as to how long it will continue to “insult the sacrifice” of Veer Savarkar, Irani said at the Delhi BJP office after launching the party’s ‘Meri Dilli, Mera Sujhav’ campaign.
Under the drive, the BJP will take suggestions from people to draft its manifesto for the Delhi polls.
Veer Savarkar, was an Indian independence activist, politician, lawyer, writer, and the formulator of the Hindutva philosophy.
“Will they eulogise only those born in the Gandhi clan, and humiliate lakhs of Indians who served at Kala Pani, suffered barbaric treatment at the hands of the British, and Veer Savarkar just because they are utterly disliked by Congress shahzada (Rahul Gandhi),” Irani told reporters.
She launched the campaign along with other BJP leaders, including the party’s Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari and Union minister and Delhi assembly election co-incharge Nityanand Rai.
When asked about Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s “Bhagwa” comment, Irani accused the Congress of mixing politics with religion.
“I myself witnessed in the Lok Sabha elections in Amethi, how Mrs Vadra took to streets and offered namaz just to win elections. It does not behove those who mix religion with politics when they try to define the Hindu religion,” she said.
On Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot backing Priyanka Gandhi over her comment by terming it as a “game changer”, Irani said his statement “certified” for the Congress, religion was a part of politics and not a matter of faith.
Priyanka Gandhi, attacking Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said, “he wears the dress of a yogi. He wears saffron clothes. This bhagwa (saffron) is not yours, it belongs to religious tradition of Hindustan.”...