Former Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday once again raked up Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s mercy petition stirring up a war of words with the Opposition and making ally Uddhav Thackeray uncomfortable.
Addressing a press conference in Akola, Maharashtra on day 71 of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi said, “See this. This is the most important document for me. This is the document that comprises Savarkar’s letter to [the] British in which he has stated ‘I beg to remain, sir, your most obedient servant, VD Savarkar.”
“I am very clear that he helped the British,” he said, showing the letter written by Savarkar to the British.
“Savarkar signed this letter whereas Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were in prison for years… they did not write any letter. I believe Savarkarji signed this letter because of fear,” the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad said at an event honouring tribal leader Birsa Munda.
During his address also claimed Munda as a Congress ‘idol’ and said “For the BJP and RSS, Savarkarji, who wrote mercy petitions… accepted pension, is an idol’.
A row over Savarkar erupted again after Rahul Gandhi’s comment, making things uncomfortable for ally Uddhav Thackeray.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray distanced himself from Rahul Gandhi’s remarks.
“We do not approve. We have immense respect and faith for Swatyantra Veer Savarkar and it cannot be erased…” Thackeray said before Rahul Gandhi’s press conference.
Following the Congress leader remarks on Savarkar triggered angry responses from the BJP with Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis accusing Rahul Gandhi of shamelessly lying’.
When asked about why he is doing Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi said that for last 8 years an atmosphere of fear and violence is being spread. “And it Seems BJP leaders don’t talk to youths and farmers of the country. There is so much of unemployment and farmers are not getting MSP of their produce. And we have started Bharat Jodo Yatra for these issues. And if people didn’t feel the requirement of Bharat Jodo Yatra then they would not have came out and joined,” he said.
To another question, what will be the agenda of Congress after the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi said, “This you need to ask the party chief. Mallikarjun Kharge is the party chief now and he is the one who will give the direction. I am completely focused on Bharat Jodo Yatra and it will take around two or two and half months. I am learning a lot from this yatra and I am meeting number of people and I am getting immense love from the people.”
When asked about his yatra and of the Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress leader said, “There is no comparison between us and Mahatma Gandhi. He showed way forward to the country and he dedicated his entire life for fighting for independence.”