The Nationalist Congress Party on Saturday urged the Congress to withdraw a booklet published by its affiliate Seva Dal that claimed Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse were in a physical relationship, PTI reported.
The party’s Mumbai chief, Nawab Malik, said it was inappropriate to make such claims. “You may have ideological differences with the person concerned,” he added. “But it is not right to make such personal remarks against one who is not around.”
The Hindi booklet, titled Veer Savarkar, Kitne Veer?, was recently distributed at a Seva Dal camp in Madhya Pradesh. Apart from insinuating that he had a physical relationship with Godse, the booklet questioned Savarkar’s credentials as a patriot and his reputation for bravery. It also alleged that Savarkar received money from the British after being released from Andaman’s Cellular Jail.
On Friday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had criticised the Congress. “Veer Savarkar was a great man and will remain a great man,” he said, according to News18. “A section keeps talking against him. This shows the dirt in their mind.” The Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party are in an alliance with the Congress in Maharashtra.
The booklet also drew the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ire, with Uma Bharti questioning Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray’s silence, and said he should step down as Maharashtra chief minister. “He needs to decide between power and respect for Veer Savarkar,” she added.
Last month, after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had mentioned Savarkar while taking a dig at the BJP, Raut had said: “We respect Pandit [Jawaharlal] Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. You should not insult Veer Savarkar. No further explanation is needed for anyone sensible.”
Raut added that Savarkar was akin to god not just for Maharashtra but for every Indian. “His name is tinged with national pride and self-respect,” the Sena leader told reporters. “Like Nehru and Gandhi, he dedicated his life to achieving independence. All such gods should be respected, there is no compromise on this.”