Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that he does not agree with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar for writing mercy petitions to the British during the freedom struggle and accepting pension, NDTV reported.

Thackeray said that he had immense respect for Savarkar.

Gandhi and Thackeray along with Nationalist Congress Party were alliance partners in the Maharashtra government before June 30.

Gandhi had made the remarks about Savarkar during his Bharat Jodo Yatra on Tuesday. On Thursday, he reiterated them at Maharashtra’s Akola city. Gandhi claimed that Savarkar was afraid of the British. He also said that Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel spent years in jail and yet they never signed such a letter.

Thackeray on Thursday said that his faction of Shiv Sena supports Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra for the sake of freedom in the country, NDTV reported. “We have allied with the Congress to maintain the freedom we got from the British,” he said.

The former Maharashtra chief minister also said that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party were not a part of the freedom movement, The Indian Express reported.

“The PM has all the rights to award Bharat Ratna, when you speak so much about Savarkar, why have you not given Bharat Ratna to Savarkar yet?” Thackeray asked.