Indira Gandhi described Veer Savarkar as 'remarkable' son of India: BJP hits back at Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi claimed that Savarkar helped the British, adding that he wrote a mercy petition to the then rulers
New Delhi: BJP lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for his comment on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, calling it ‘deplorable’ and demanding an official apology from him. BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra condemned the Congress leader and called out Gandhi for “insulting” the “great freedom fighter” who is the pride of the country.
Responding to Rahul’s statement, Sambit Patra told media, "Rahul Gandhi has insulted Veer Savarkar. He is the pride of the country. The words that he used for Savarkar are extremely shameful and deplorable."
Savarkar close to people's hearts
He also called Savarkar a great freedom fighter who is close to people`s hearts.
"Veer Savarkar is a great freedom fighter who is very close to our hearts. Even former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi called him a great freedom fighter who fought against the British. Now, the Gandhi family should answer if Indira Gandhi lied or did Rahul Gandhi?"
Patra further accused the Gandhis of insulting Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel and other heroes of the country`s freedom struggle.
Also Read: Veer Savarkar wrote a letter to British, 'begged' to remain their most 'obedient' servant: Rahul Gandhi
"The Gandhi family thinks that theirs were the only freedom fighters to fought for the country`s the freedom and went to jail. They think that the whole concept of `Bharat Varsh` is within the Gandhi family. This family has insulted leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose and Vallabhai Patel because of which it is facing an existential crisis across the country today," he said.
'Bharat Todo Yatra'
The BJP leader further attacked Rahul, calling his `Bharat Jodo` as `Bharat Todo`.
"Rahul Gandhi has named it `Bharat Jodo`, but has a mindset of `Bharat Todo`. His deeds are only directed at tearing this country apart. He should apologise for the words he used today," Patra said.
Rahul Gandhi's statement on Savarkar
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi claimed that Savarkar helped the British, adding that he wrote a mercy petition to the then rulers. Addressing a press conference during his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Maharashtra, Gandhi also showed a paper to the media persons, claiming it was a letter written by Veer Savarkar to the British. He reiterated that Savarkar had helped the Britishers.
Also Read: To mark Indira Gandhi's birth anniversary, only women to walk with Rahul Gandhi in Bharat Jodo Yatra
"I will read the last line, which says 'I beg to remain your most obedient servant' and is signed V D Savarkar," Gandhi said.
Gandhi said he was of the view that Savarkar signed the letter out of fear and in doing so, betrayed Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Pandit Nehru and other leaders of the freedom struggle.
Other BJP leader attacked Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi’s statement stirred a controversy as another BJP leader Ashish Shelar stepped in to attack Gandhi by citing former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's praise for V D Savarkar.
Speaking to media, Shelar said, “Rahul Gandhi has made a brainless comment about Veer Savarkar and we condemn it. We wonder why Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has taken such a soft stand on the issue and destroyed his own credibility.”
Indira Gandhi respected VD Savarkar
The BJP leader also claimed that Rahul's grand-mother, late Indira Gandhi respected Savarkar.
“I can show you a letter by then prime minister Indira Gandhi, who described Savarkar as a remarkable son of India while asking her secretary to plan celebration of Savarkar's birth centenary,” Shelar said.
Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena faction is the Congress' ally in Maharashtra. Thackeray, however, distanced himself from Rahul Gandhi's comments on Savarkar.
On Tuesday, Rahul attended a tribal convention during the `Bharat Jodo Yatra` at Hingoli in Maharashtra on the occasion of `Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas`. During the event, Rahul Gandhi hit out at Savarkar claiming that the saffron ideologue took a pension from the British government in lieu of working against the Congress.
"While he was lodged in Andaman jail, Savarkar wrote a letter to the British pleading with them that he be pardoned and released. He took pension from the British and worked against the Congress. After coming out of jail, he accepted the British proposal and joined their force. The difference between Savarkar and Birsa Munda is that he died fighting against the British when he was just 24 years old," he said.
(With ANI, PTI inputs)