Vinayak Damodar Savarkar addressing Hindu Mahasabha Working Committee meeting in Delhi on September 10, 1939.(HT Archive/Lalit Gopal)
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar addressing Hindu Mahasabha Working Committee meeting in Delhi on September 10, 1939.(HT Archive/Lalit Gopal)

NCP asks Congress to withdraw the booklet on Savarkar

A controversy over Savarkar had also erupted last month when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi suggested that Savarkar was a turncoat. The Shiv Sena had then condemned his remark.
By Naresh Kamath | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 04, 2020 05:58 PM IST

The Congress Seva Dal’s depiction of Hindu Mahasabha leader and freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar as a “homosexual” in relationship with Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, has led to disquiet in the alliance running the Maharashtra government. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has asked ally Congress to withdraw the controversial booklet published for distribution among Seva Dal cadre.

NCP minister and spokesperson Nawab Malik said it was wrong to make personal remarks on the late leader.

“You may have ideological differences with the person concerned. The Congress can criticise Savarkar over his ideology. However it should refrain from making personal remarks against him especially when he is not around,” said Malik.

The NCP, the Congress and the Shiv Sena are part of a political front, the Maha Vikas Aghadi, which rules Maharashtra. The booklet’s alleged denigration of Savarkar has caused embarrassment to the Shiv Sena which revers Savarkar and advocates a Bharat Ratna for him.

Savarkar’s grandson Ranjeet Savarkar demanded a ban on the booklet on Friday and sought action against the Seva Dal.

The said booklet titled “Veer Savarkar Kitney Veer” (How brave was Savarkar?), cites a reference from the 1975 book, Freedom ‪at Midnight by Larry and Dominique Lapierre, to contend that Godse had a physical relationship with his mentor, Savarkar, whom he had met when he was 18 years old. The book also projects Savarkar as anti-Muslim.

The Congress’ grassroots organisation says the booklet only quotes facts and is part of literature meant to educate Seva Dal cadre.

A controversy over Savarkar had also erupted last month when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi suggested that Savarkar was a turncoat. The Shiv Sena had then condemned his remark.

The Maharashtra Congress has distanced itself from the comments made in the booklet.

“We do not support the contents of the booklet despite it being quoted from a book. We also not believe in such personal attacks,” said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant.

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