Mumbai: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said his party has immense respect for V D Savarkar and he does not approve of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about the late Hindutva ideologue.
Talking to reporters here, Thackeray also said he joined hands with the Congress to protect the same freedom for which Savarkar made sacrifices.
He also asked why the BJP-led Union government has not yet conferred the Bharat Ratna award on Savarkar.
The BJP has been trying to corner the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction after Rahul Gandhi continued to target Savarkar, a Hindutva ideologue, during his Bharat Jodo Yatra.
During a rally in Washim district on Tuesday, Gandhi said Savarkar was jailed in Andaman for “two-three years” and “started writing mercy petitions”.
Savarkar also wrote a book on himself with a different name and highlighted how brave he was, and he used to take pension from the British, work for them and work against the Congress, Gandhi had alleged.
Following this, the BJP and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde targeted the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena faction.
“We do not approve of Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on Savarkar. We have immense respect and faith in Swatantryaveer Savarkar and it cannot be erased,” Thackeray said.
The Thackeray-led Shiv Sena has an alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra.
Thackeray’s son and former Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray had joined Gandhi his foot-march last week.
However, when asked if he himself would be attending a rally at Shegaon during the Yatra in Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray indicated `no’ with the wave of hand.
“It is laughable when the progeny of a parent organisation who has no connection with the freedom struggle express love for Savarkar,” Thackeray further said, taking swipes at the BJP and its parent organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The RSS will soon complete 100 years but it stayed away from the freedom struggle, and it has no right to talk about Savarkar, he added.
The freedom for which Savarkar made sacrifices needs to be safeguarded, Thackeray further said.
“Savarkar committed sacrifices for freedom the same freedom needs to be protected today.
“You ask questions when Rahul Gandhi speaks something about Savarkar. I had asked this in the Assembly…is it patriotism when you (BJP) sit next to the PDP (People’s Democratic Party led by Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu and Kashmir) who does not even say Bharat Mata Ki Jai or sing Vande Mataram,” Uddhav Thackeray added.
Attacking the BJP further, he said the Union government led by it has not been able to get back an inch of land from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Where the BJP and RSS were when Razakars, the militia of the Nizam of Hyderabad, were attacking Hindus, Thackeray further asked.
“Do not dare to ask us about Savarkar,” he added.
Defending his alliance with Congress, he said the two parties have come together to protect freedom.
“What is wrong with it? It looks like the country is heading towards autocracy, and we will oppose it along with those who want to come with us,” he said.
“We have joined hands with the Congress for the same purpose,” he added.