After Uddhav Thaceray’s warning, Sanjay Raut to meet Rahul Gandi
NEW DELHI/ MUMBAI: A day after Uddhav Thackeray warned Congress leader Rahul Gandhi against insulting Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut said he will meet Rahul and try to convince him to avoid mentioning Savarkar in his speeches and press conferences as it was a matter of faith for the Uddhav-led Sena. “Veer Savarkar is our deity. Savarkar is related to our faith. We cannot tolerate insults to him,” Sanjay Raut, chief spokesperson of Shiv Sena (UBT) told today.
Raut, who also addressed reporters in Mumbai on Monday on the same subject, said he will soon meet Rahul in New Delhi. “I will hold discussions with Rahul Gandhi on the issue of Veer Savarkar. I will explain to him the sacrifices made by Savarkar… He spent 14 years in Andaman and Nicobar jail. He was given the worst punishment of ‘kaala pani’,” he said. “Those who have gone to jail, like me, know how difficult it is to live there even for a day. And just imagine, Savarkar spent 14 years in jail where he had to undergo absolute torture. Rahul Gandhi needs to understand the sufferings and sacrifices that Savarkar underwent. I am sure the Congress leader will give me a patient hearing and will try to understand the life and times of Savarkar without insulting him,” he said.
Raut added, “We object to the use of words like ‘mafiveer’ for Savarkar. By belittling the sacrifice of Savarkar in this manner, Rahul Gandhi is doing harm to himself and his image. Rahul Gandhi undertook Bharat Jodo Yatra and drew wide praise from across the country. And by insulting Savarkar, he is creating hatred among those who respect the Hindutva ideologue for what he did for the country.”
The Sena (UBT) leader said Rahul has repeatedly said that Savarkar had apologised. “But how many times will he repeat the same thing? We did not expect that Rahul Gandhi will carry his animosity for a human being who is dead this far… The Congress leader needs to have closure with regard to his strong sentiments against Savarkar who is not alive to defend himself. He should stop mentioning Savarkar in his speeches and press conferences. There are several important national issues on which he is raising his voice without any fear… He should keep doing that. The country needs a leader like him,” he said.
Raut said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has already made it clear that his party will not tolerate any insult to Savarkar. “Rahul Gandhi needs to understand our sentiments as well. Savarkar is a matter of faith for us and therefore we will not tolerate anything said to dishonour or disrespect him,” he said. In its editorial on Monday, the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said, “Rahul Gandhi repeatedly says ‘My name is not Savarkar’. By making such statements, Rahul Gandhi is not going to make the Congress courageous. Neither is he going to reduce the love and admiration that people have for Savarkar. Savarkar means courage, Savarkar means fight against injustice and ‘gulamgiri. Veer Savarkar created warriors in the country and outside to fight against the British. Like Savarkar, Rahul Gandhi will have to create warriors in his own party so that they can take on the present rulers.”
The editorial said Rahul has been sentenced to two years’ jail in the 2019 defamation case. “This is an injustice to him. But if he is trying to fight for the truth by insulting Savarkar, he will never get that victory.” The editorial said the Congress leader belongs to a family of martyrs. “Motilal Nehru and Pandit Nehru went all out during the freedom struggle. Their life was dedicated to the country. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi made the highest sacrifices for the nation. The country acknowledges their matrydom. Similarly, Veer Savarkar’s brother Babarao Savarkar and their entire family also made the highest sacrifices for the country. No one should try to belittle those great sacrifices,” it added.