Mumbai: After the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) urged the Congress to withdraw a booklet on Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar that insinuated he had a physical relationship with Nathuram Godse, the Shiv Sena too has criticised the Congress. The booklet was published by Congress’s grassroots front organisation Seva Dal and is titled ‘Veer Savarkar, Kitne Veer?’. It was recently distributed at a camp in Madhya Pradesh.
Apart from the allegations of a physical relationship with Godse, the booklet also questioned Savarkar’s credentials as a “patriot”. The book also alleges that Savarkar received money from the British after he was released from Andaman’s Cellular Jail.
The NCP’s Mumbai chief Nawab Malik was the first one to criticise the Congress for making the “inappropriate claim”. “You may have ideological differences with the person concerned but it is not right to make such personal remarks against one who is not around,” he told the media in Mumbai.
Sena’s senior leader, and the editor of its mouthpiece Saamana, Sanjay Raut also accused of the Seva Dal of having a “dirty mind”. “Veer Savarkar was a great man and will remain a great man. A section keeps talking against him and it shows the dirt in their minds, whoever they might be,” Raut said. “Like Nehru and Gandhi, he dedicated his life to achieving independence. All such gods should be respected, there is no compromise on this,” Raut further added.
The Sena and NCP are in an alliance with the Congress in Maharashtra.
The BJP also reacted similarly, accusing the Congress of “maligning” Savarkar. An angry Uma Bharti said that the Congress needed “psychiatric treatment” for allowing the publication of such a booklet and circulating it. Bharti also criticised the state’s chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for his silence. “He needs to decide between power and respect for Veer Savarkar,” she added, demanding he step down from his post immediately.
The NCP and Sena have sought the booklet to be withdrawn, urging the MP government to file a case against those involved in publishing it.