Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday led the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena’s ‘Savarkar Gaurav Yatra’ in Thane.
The yatra comes amid the efforts by the ruling coalition to play up the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s comments on Veer Savarkar following his disqualification from the Lok Sabha. Rahul, who was disqualified as an MP after being convicted in the criminal defamation case over a remark using the surname ‘Modi’, on March 25, had said, “My name is not Savarkar, my name is Gandhi. Gandhis don’t apologise to anyone.”
The BJP and ruling Maharashtra ally Sena had slammed Rahul remarks while the chief of the rival Sena camp and former CM, Uddhav Thackeray, too, voiced concerns over it.
Earlier, on March 28, CM Shinde said insulting Savarkar was akin to insulting the people of the country.
“Veer Savarkar’s insult by Rahul Gandhi is condemnable. He dedicated his life to the country and Rahul Gandhi is insulting him. He is also casting aspersions on our democracy on foreign soil. Insulting Savarkar means insulting people of the country,” he added.
Taking a swipe at Uddhav Thackeray for diluting the Sena’s core principles by joining hands with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shinde said, “Those who used to say earlier they won’t tolerate the insult of Savarkar were wearing black bands in support of Rahul Gandhi. It’s unfortunate. They (Uddhav Thackeray) said they won’t tolerate Rahul Gandhi’s remarks. Thackeray had also warned Rahul Gandhi not to insult Veer Savarkar saying that demeaning him would create cracks in the Opposition alliance.”
“Savarkar suffered unimaginable torture in the Andaman cellular jail for 14 years. We can only read about his sufferings. It was a form of sacrifice. We will not tolerate the insult of Savarkar,” Uddhav said.
“Veer Savarkar is our God, and any disrespect towards him will not be tolerated. We are prepared to fight, but insulting our Gods is not something we will tolerate,” he added.
Shiv Sena (UBT faction), which is part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), also comprising the Congress and the NCP, skipped a dinner organised by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for all like-minded Opposition parties at his residence on Monday.