Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday mounted an uncharacteristically harsh attack on the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi for statements on late Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar.
Addressing a ‘Savarkar Gaurav Yatra’ event in the metropolis, Mr Fadnavis used an expletive while referring to Congress leaders’ remarks on Savarkar.
These leaders were not telling the public that Savarkar wrote to British authorities from jail not for himself but for fellow inmates.
Rahul Gandhi has often accused Savarkar of “apologising” to the British to get out of jail, and has routinely shot back at Bharatiya Janata Party demands for an apology by claiming he was a Gandhi and not Savarkar to seek mercy.
“It was Savarkar who after returning to Ratnagiri from jail in the Andamans started several activities to bring about social reforms. Savarkar had said unless we abolish untouchability, we will never become a great nation.
“But those born with a golden spoon call him mafiveer (mercy seeker),” Mr Fadnavis said slamming Congress leaders.
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader further claimed a congratulatory motion was moved for Savarkar post Independence in Parliament by a member from West Bengal, and the Congress opposed it except for one person from the party.
“His name was Feroze Gandhi, the grandfather of Rahul Gandhi,” Mr Fadnavis told the gathering.
Attacking Rahul Gandhi further, Mr Fadnavis said the former has taken a “fake surname” and that “you are neither Savarkar nor Gandhi”.
Does he (Rahul Gandhi) even know the history of the country, Mr Fadnavis questioned.
“Some people’s party is run on the money provided by the Chinese government. But they call Savarkar a mafiveer,” he said in a swipe at the Congress.
“Savarkar endured harsh suffering, poor quality food and all kinds of harassment from the British at the jail in Andamans,” the deputy CM said.
He also attacked Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray for allying with the Congress, which routinely “insults” Savarkar.
“I want to ask Uddhav Thackeray whether Rahul Gandhi has deleted any of his tweets that insulted Savarkar. Thackeray even offered flowers to the photo of Rajiv Gandhi, former prime minister and father of Rahul Gandhi. But has there ever been a single such gesture by Sonia or Rahul Gandhi towards late Balasaheb Thackeray,” he asked.
The BJP-Shiv Sena has latched on to the remarks against Savarkar to attack the Congress and also put Uddhav Thackeray on the backfoot since the undivided Sena under Balasaheb Thackeray regularly demanded the Bharat Ratna for the late Hindutva ideologue.
The ruling alliance plans to carry out such yatras in all 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra.
The Eknath Shinde government also plans to organise a ‘Veerbhoomi Parikrama’ at Nashik, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Pune and Mumbai to from May 21 to 28 to mark the birth anniversary of Savarkar.
The state government has said it will build a museum dedicated to Savarkar in Bhagur in Nashik.
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