The latest exchange of arguments sparked with Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s demand that those opposing Bharat Ratna award for Savarkar should be made to spend two days in the Andaman Cellular Jail
Ideological differences have come up between the Shiv Sena and the Congress over Hindutva icon Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as 'Veer' Savarkar. There have been constant exchanges of barbs between the leaders of both parties.
The Sena and the Congress - running a coalition government in Maharashtra with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) - disagree over conferring the Bharat Ratna on Savarkar.
The latest exchange of arguments sparked with Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s demand that those opposing Bharat Ratna award for Savarkar should be made to spend two days in the Andaman Cellular Jail, the erstwhile colonial prison, where the freedom fighter had been lodged during his incarceration.
Within hours of the statement, the Congress hit back with its state spokesperson Sachin Sawant tweeting, "Savarkar was different before 1911. Congress is against his post-1923 ideology."
Maharashtra PWD minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan sought to know whether Raut's statement was the official stand of the Sena. Somebody's personal comments cannot be the stand of the government and there is no need to give a reaction to this, said Chavan.
Earlier in January, Sena and Congress locked horns over a booklet which claimed that Savarkar and Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse had been in a physical relationship. The Hindi booklet titled ‘Veer Savarkar, Kitne 'Veer'?’ was distributed at a camp of Congress- affiliated Seva Dal in Madhya Pradesh.
In his reaction over the booklet, Raut said, “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.”
Besides on Savarkar, Raut also stoked a controversy with his claim that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used to come to meet Karim Lala, a yesteryear don in Mumbai.
"When Haji Mastan used to come to 'Mantralaya', the entire 'Mantralaya' would come down to see him. Indira Gandhi used to come to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai)," claimed Raut.
Raut’s comment was slammed by Mumbai Congress leader Milind Deora who said that Indira was a “true patriot” and urged Raut to withdraw his "ill-informed statement.”
Raut withdrew his statement eventually.
"If someone feels my statement hurt Indira Gandhi's image, or someone's feelings, I take it back," he said.
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