BJP set to corner state over Savarkar
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to corner its former ally Shiv Sena in both the houses of the state legislature on the issue of Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, on the occasion of the latter’s death anniversary on Wednesday.
The party has moved a motion in the state Assembly, through its senior leader and former minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, demanding that a motion to honour Savarkar be passed in the House, knowing that the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies – the Shiv Sena and Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – are divided over the issue.
This is the first full session of the MVA after it came to power and the BJP has decided to show its strength as the largest party and the sole Opposition in the state. The party on Tuesday forced adjournment of both the Houses of the state legislature on the issue of farmers and rising incidents of violence against women. “We expect Savarkar will be honoured and we want to see if chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, the son of Bal Thackeray, remembers Savarkar on his death anniversary and is willing to pass a motion or resolution in his honour. If not, will he at least honour him by praying before his photo in the Vidhan Bhavan,” asked state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil.
Mungantiwar’s motion tabled before Speaker Nana Patole stated: “In the past few days, there have been several disgusting and unpalatable statements made against Veer Savarkar. There has been an attempt to create confusion and misguide people about his role in the freedom struggle in his birth state. February 26 is his death anniversary and the state Assembly must pass a motion in his honour...”
Mungantiwar told HT that even if the motion was rejected by the Speaker, the BJP will still raise the issue in the Assembly. “Let the CM pass even a two-line motion or resolution on Veer Savarkar. We want to see the Sena’s stance on their hero,” he said.
He also said the reason to demand such a motion now was the way the idealogue was being maligned in the recent times.
While the Sena has earlier demanded a Bharat Ratna for Savarkar, a section in the Congress is critical about his role in the freedom struggle and has earlier termed him an apologist. Recently, Congress mouthpiece in Maharashtra Shidori published two articles that had again referred to Savarkar’s mercy petition to British, besides making some unsavoury remarks against him. “We have a counter strategy in place and I don’t think as a party we will protest against such a resolution in favour of Savarkar,” said a senior Congress leader and minister. NCP spokesperson and minister Nawab Malik said, “We are aware of the BJP’s strategy to corner us, but they will be surprised.”