Passing buck to Cong does not work: Says Former PM Manmohan Singh
MUMBAI : Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today criticised the Maharashtra BJP for propping up VD Savarkar as an ideal choice for the Bharat Ratna in its election manifesto, claiming that the ideas preached by the Hindutva ideologue make him unsuitable for such an honour.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai ahead of the Maharashtra assembly elections, Manmohan Singh maintained that the Congress has a bigger issue with VD Savarkar’s ideology than with the man himself. “As far as Savarkarji is concerned, you would recall that Indira Gandhi had issued a postal stamp commemorating him. We are not against Savarkarji, but we are not in favour of the Hindutva ideology that Savarkarji stood for either,” he was heard saying in a video posted by news agency ANI.
However, the former Prime Minister claimed that the issue would be best addressed by the competent authorities. “Since we are not likely to be in governance, the issue will be settled when the case comes before the committee that looks into these matters,” he said.
The Maharashtra BJP had sparked off a row a few days ago when it suggested in its election manifesto that the country’s highest civilian honour being awarded posthumously to VD Savarkar. The Congress, which believes that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was influenced by the Hindutva ideologue’s philosophy, reacted sharply to the development.
“Savarkar was only accused of conspiring to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi, whereas Nathuram Godse carried out the assassination. This year we are celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and on this occasion, the NDA government should straightaway confer the Bharat Ratna to Godse instead of Savarkar,” party leader Manish Tewari sarcastically told reporters in Nagpur on Wednesday.
However, Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad defended the demand made in the manifesto for the October 21 state elections. “Savarkar was a rashtrabhakta (patriot) who spent 11 years of his life in Andaman Jail for our country. He never asked anything from us in return,” he said, adding that the Congress would rather give the honour only to the members of a “certain family”.
In today’s press conference, Manmohan Singh also accused Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of being “obsessed” with fixing blame on its opponents instead of finding solutions to the country’s economic issues. His remark followed Ms Sitharaman’s claim on Tuesday that the ongoing crisis in public sector banks was a fallout of “faulty policies” adopted by Manmohan Singh and former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.
Interacting with the business community, professionals and media in Mumbai, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Thursday, said that Maharashtra has been facing an economic decline for four consecutive years and that in the past five years the state has seen the maximum factory shutdowns. Lashing out the Narendra Modi-led BJP government on the state of current Indian economic scenario and rural distress, Dr Manmohan Singh said that passing the buck to Congress does not work.
Lashing out the Narendra Modi-led BJP government on the state of current Indian economic scenario and rural distress, Dr Manmohan Singh said that passing the buck to Congress does not work. “Industrial slowdown has impacted by rising Chinese imports…
To a question on the BJP Maharashtra unit’s proposal for a Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar, he said: “Indira Gandhi had issued a postal stamp to commemorate Veer Savarkar. We are not against Veer Savarkar….we do not agree with his ideology.”
On the issue of nationalism, the former PM said: “Nobody is more patriotic than the Congress party. Our role in the fight for the independence of India is well known. BJP’s presence in the freedom struggle was non-existent. Congress doesn’t need a ce…
The Congress opposition to scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, he said: “The high handedness manner in which removal of article 370 was implemented is what we were opposed to.”
(With inputs from Mumbai Bureau and ANI)