The exchange of words between the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party over Hindutva continued on Monday, with Sena’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut questioning why the central government has not awarded a Bharat Ratna to Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, reported ANI.

“Shiv Sena never changed its stand on Veer Savarkar. Whenever an inappropriate comment was made to insult him, we stood by him,” Raut said. “Those who are criticising us must answer why didn’t they give him Bharat Ratna.”

On Sunday, BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam had tweeted saying why Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray did not “utter a single word of praise” for Savarkar during Sena’s Dussehra rally.

In his speech on Sunday, Thackeray had criticised the BJP, saying that the party has no ideology, norms, or culture. He further said that those questioning the Shiv Sena’s Hindutva should know that his party’s definition of the ideology does not involve “clanging bells and utensils”. He likened the exit of the saffron party’s allies like Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal, to a dahi handi (a popular traditional sport in Maharashtra) pyramid that was hollowing at the bottom.

Earlier this month,Thackeray and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had engaged in an exchange of letters on reopening religious places in the state amid the coronavirus crisis. Thackeray told the governor that he did not need a “certificate” of Hindutva from him, after Koshyari asked him if he had “turned secular”.

In December, shortly after the Congress and Shiv Sena allied to form a government in Maharashtra, Raut had criticised Rahul Gandhi for a comment on Savarkar. Raut had said that the Hindutva ideologue was akin to a god not just for Maharashtra but for the whole country and there can be “no compromise” in respect for him.