Uddhav Thackeray seeks Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar

The Shiv Sena chief also said Pakistan would not have been created if Savarkar had become India’s first Prime Minister.
Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray releasing Vikram Sampath’s book 'Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past' in Mumbai on Wednesday.(ANI)
Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray releasing Vikram Sampath’s book 'Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past' in Mumbai on Wednesday.(ANI)
Updated on Sep 18, 2019 06:13 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday sought the country’s highest civilian award – Bharat Ratna – for Hindutva poster boy Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, better known as Veer Savarkar.

Thackeray also said Pakistan would not have been created if Savarkar had become India’s first Prime Minister.

The Sena boss was speaking at the launch of a biography of the Hindu Mahasabha leader titled “Savarkar: Echoes From A Forgotten Past” by Vikram Sampath on Tuesday in Mumbai.

“Vallabhbhai Patel was known as the Iron Man of India, and it is said that if he was the Prime Minister then the issue of Kashmir wouldn’t have come about. And if Savarkar was the Prime Minister, Pakistan wouldn’t have come into existence,” Thackeray said in his speech at the book launch. He added that there were doubts raised if Savarkar was deliberately kept away from primeministership.

The Sena chief also took a swipe at Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi family and said that other people had also contributed to the country’s freedom movement.

“Savarkar must be awarded the Bharat Ratna. We don’t deny the work done by [Mahatma] Gandhi and [Prime Minister Jawaharlal] Nehru, but the country saw more than two families being born on the political scene,” Thackeray said.

Thackeray took on the former prime minister and said that Nehru had been jailed during the freedom struggle but hadn’t been incarcerated like Savarkar. “I would have called Nehru as Veer (brave) if he had survived jail for 14 minutes like Savarkar who stayed in prison for 14 long years,” he said.

Taking a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who in the past called Savarkar a “coward”, Thackeray said, “Give this new book to that ignorant Rahul Gandhi. He has a lot of time now.”

It was under the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee that Savarkar’s portrait was unveiled in the Central Hall of Parliament by the then President A P J Abdul Kalam on February 26, 2003.

While the BJP hails Savarkar, many opposition parties describe him as divisive and fault him for writing mercy petitions to the British for his release from the Cellular Jail in the Andamans.

Savarkar was also chargesheeted in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was exonerated.

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