Mumbai: In a move that has raised eyebrows, the Maharashtra unit of the BJP said that it would strive to honour Hindutva icon Vinayak Damodar Savarkar with a Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.
In its election manifesto, released by BJP working president, J.P. Nadda, the state unit said that efforts would be made to ensure that Savarkar is honoured with “Bharat Ratna”, along with social reformers Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule.
This is perhaps for the first time that any political party promised to offer a “Bharat Ratna” in its manifesto.
The state government will ask the NDA government at the Centre to confer the Bharat Ratna on Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Phule and Savitribai Phule, reads the manifesto.
Savarkar (1883-1966), an independence activist, politician, lawyer, writer and the formulator of the Hindutva philosophy, is considered to be an inspiration of several BJP leaders, including party president Amit Shah.
Convicted for abetting the murder of the Nashik collector and waging a conspiracy against the king he was sentenced to 50-year imprisonment in 1911. Savarkar, however, served ten years of his prison sentence before being released after signing a plea for clemency that required him to renounce revolutionary activities. In 1948, Savarkar was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was acquitted by the court for lack of evidence.
Slamming the BJP, CPI general secretary D. Raja said the ruling party might even propose the honour for Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse.
“This is the biggest irony of our times, that while we are all celebrating the birth centenary of Gandhiji, the BJP is seeking Bharat Ratna to Savarkar, who was an accused in his assassination case. The day may not be far off for BJP to demand Bharat Ratna to Gandhiji’s assassin Godse,” the CPI leader said.
Commenting on the manifesto, NCP leader Nawab Malik said that matter was irrelevant....