Speaking to media persons in Akola district of Maharashtra on Thursday during his ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul cited from a letter purportedly written by Savarkar to the Britishers during the freedom struggle pledging his support to them. “Sir, I beg to remain your most obedient servant,” Savarkar said and signed on it, according to Rahul.
The Congress MP from Wayanad in Kerala also alleged that Savarkar helped the British and betrayed leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel by “signing the letter out of fear”.
सावरकर जी ने अंग्रेजों की मदद की। उन्होंने अंग्रेजों को चिट्ठी लिखकर कहा – सर, मैं आपका नौकर रहना चाहता हूं।-… https://t.co/dJAdvRzWIP
— Congress (@INCIndia) 1668672285000
Rahul’s remarks not just made the rival BJP livid but were also incongruous with the stated principles of its Maharashtra ally Shiv Sena (Uddhav faction). Historian and author Vikram Sampath also strongly disagreed with the Congress leader’s remarks.
BJP leader co-in-charge of West Bengal Amit Malviya countered Rahul by calling his great grandfather and first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru a coward. He said, “Jawaharlal Nehru, the man Congress venerates, was rescued (in Sept 1923) by his father, just because he couldn’t endure hardships in Nabha jail for even 2 weeks. His father Motilal Nehru wrote an apology to the British to secure his release. Nehru was a coward. So look within.”
Jawaharlal Nehru, the man Congress venerates, was rescued (in Sept 1923) by his father, just because he couldn’t en… https://t.co/ue2OrM7fJD
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) 1668676674000
BJP national secretary Y Satya Kumar said in a tweet, “Time and again the context of the letter has been clarified by different scholars. Yet the chief patron of Tukde tukde gang keeps on dragging the name of Veer Savarkar in order to humiliate Hindus. Is it what the Thackeray dynasts have told RaGa after they joined the MVA?”
Time and again the context of the letter has been clarified by different scholars.Yet the chief patron of Tukde t… https://t.co/pAqB13o7p4
— Y. Satya Kumar (సత్యకుమార్) (@satyakumar_y) 1668683387000
Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), did not approve of Rahul’s remarks on the freedom fighter. He reacted to Rahul’s remarks by stating that his party has immense respect for Savarkar.
Talking to media persons in Mumbai, Uddhav said, “We do not approve of Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on Savarkar. We have immense respect and faith for Swatyantra Veer Savarkar and it cannot be erased,” he said and also asked why the Centre has not conferred the Bharat Ratna on Savarkar.
The Congress ran Maharashtra government as part of a Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government along with Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Uddhav-led Shiv Sena faction.
Last week, Uddhav’s son and former Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray had taken part in the Bharat Jodo Yatra and walked along side Rahul.
Earlier, addressing a rally as part of his yatra in Washim district on Tuesday, Gandhi claimed that Savarkar wrote a book on himself with a different name and highlighted how brave he was.
Historian and author Vikram Sampath lashed out at Rahul. Without naming him, he called the Congress leader’s remarks as “this imbecile’s juvenile comments”.
In a tweet, Sampath said, “Recusing myself from all TV debates on this non-issue that is flogged repeatedly when bankrupt of anything else. Don’t wish to dignify this imbecile’s juvenile comments with my valuable time. Apologies in advance to guest relations folks of TV channels reaching out to me.”
Recusing myself from all TV debates on this non-issue that is flogged repeatedly when bankrupt of anything else. Do… https://t.co/q1AtcQraCs
— Dr. Vikram Sampath, FRHistS (@vikramsampath) 1668678486000
News agency PTI quoted Maharashtra Police as stating that Savarkar’s grandson registered a complaint against Rahul for allegedly “insulting” Hindutva ideologue.
Several people have also shared on social media an official letter written by former prime minister Indira Gandhi saying, “Veer Savarkar’s daring defiance of the British Government has its own important place in the annals of our freedom movement. I wish success to the plans to celebrate the birth centenary of this remarkable son of India.”
Rahul’s remarks on Savarkar are likely to generate a heated debate once again.