Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has demanded Bharat Ratna for Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. He said that if Savarkar was the first prime minister of India then Pakistan would not have been formed. Thackeray lauded the contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi but at the same time said that efforts of other leaders must not be sidelined.
When our correspondent Nikhil Sagare spoke to Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Dr Raju Waghmare he said, “Shiv Sena has not done any work since past five years. They have not addressed any issue like flood affected people, farmers, unemployment, inflation, fuel price hike. With elections round the corner, they remember Pakistan. They try to rake up Savarkar issue and indulge in politics.”
“They are trying to divert people’s attention from real issues. They had fought election on development agenda but later on they tried to gain mileage over Balakot air strike issue. Flood affected people and farmers are hungry. They have not tried to resolve farmer’s suicide issue,” he added.
Thackeray was speaking on the launch of Veer Savarkar’s biography titled Savarkar: Echoes From A Forgotten Past. He said, “Savarkar must be awarded the Bharat Ratna. We don’t deny the work done by Mahatma Gandhi and first PM Jawaharlal Nehru but the country saw more than two families being born on the political scene. I would have called Nehru brave if he had survived in jail for 14 minutes against Savarkar who stayed in prison for 14 long years,” said Uddhav.
Taking a swipe at Rahul Gandhi who in the past has taken jibes at Hindutva icons including Savarkar, Thackeray said that the former Congress chief should be given a copy of the book. Thackeray told the author of the book Vikram Sampath that he would buy copies and ensure that every school and college in the state stocks it in libraries adding that it should be compulsory reading for MPs and MLAs too.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said, “We have been demanding that Veer Savarkar must be honoured with Bharat Ratna. In the editorial of Saamna it has been mentioned that if Savarkar was made prime minister then Pakistan would not have been created. India is facing hardships due to the creation of Pakistan.”
Uddhav said that Savarkar’s name gets dragged into heated political debates often from Rahul Gandhi’s defamatory remarks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage to the freedom fighter in Cellular Jail.
Thackeray expressed his displeasure over the jail in which Savarkar was kept. He said, “The jail has become a picnic spot for people. People are unaware about the hardships faced by Savarkar during his imprisonment.”
On one hand, Thackeray has been criticising the Nehru-Gandhi family, on the other hand, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut has been lauding the contribution of Nehru in nation building. Why are both leaders from the same party issuing different statements? He appreciated Jawaharlal Nehru for following Parliamentary Democracy. Raut also raised question on the role of opposition in current political scenario.
Raut said, “There may be difference of opinion about Jawaharlal Nehru and Congress party but he has followed parliamentary form of democracy. Nehru had understood the importance of opposition. In the initial days when there was a weak opposition Nehru said he along with handling the PM’s post he would also like to oversee the role of opposition leader. Even former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had followed the principles of Nehru. If there is no opposition in the country then it is termed as a huge setback for democracy and politics becomes one-sided.”