Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday criticized the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) for it’s promise to confer the Bharat Ratna to RSS ideologue VD Savarkar in it’s Sankalp Patra or election manifesto for Maharashtra.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai in the run-up to the Maharashtra Assembly elections on October 21, Singh said that the Congress has problem with Savarkar’s ideology than with the man himself. “As far as Savarkarji is concerned, you would recall that Indira Gandhi had issued a postal stamp commemorating him. We are not against Savarkarji, but we are not in favour of the Hindutva ideology that Savarkarji stood for either,” he said this in a video posted by news agency ANI.

Though, Dr Singh also cleared that the issue would be best addressed by the competent authorities. “Since we are not likely to be in governance, the issue will be settled when the case comes before the committee that looks into these matters,” he said.

Dr Manmohan Singh also counter attacked Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for blaming him him and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan for the bank crisis. He said that the Government is “obsessed with trying to fix blame on its opponents” instead of finding solutions. “I have just seen the statements by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. I won’t like to comment on that statement, but before one can fix the economy, one needs a correct diagnosis of its ailments and their causes. The government is obsessed with trying to fix blame on its opponent, thus it is unable to find a solution that will ensure the revival of economy.”

The ruling BJP and Opposition, including the Congress party, were on Thursday at daggers drawn over the issue of conferring the Bharat Ratna to RSS ideologue Savarkar. The issue has charged up the political atmosphere not only in the poll-bound state of Maharashtra, which will go to the polls on 21 October with Haryana but the entire country.

Congress believes that Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse was a follower of BJP’s parent party, RSS ideologue Savarkar was and under his influence.

Congress leader Manish Tiwari on Wednesday tweeted and said, “Why does NDA/BJP Government want to confer Bharath Ratna on Savarkar why not Godse? Former was only chargesheeted & later acquitted for assassination of Gandhi while latter was convicted & hanged. On his 150 th Anniv(anniversary) if you want to defile his memory then go the whole nine yards?

However, Union Minister Jitender Singh defended BJP and tweeted saying how Indira Gandhi praised Veer Savarkar in her letter.

Earlier, Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad also came in defense of the party’s demand and slammed the Congress party. “Why is Congress party perturbed if the BJP in its manifesto has requested the Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar? Was he not a patriot?” he told reporters adding that “Congress wants to collect Bharat Ratna only for its family.”