Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday dared the BJP-Shinde state government to stop his Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is currently going through Maharashtra.
“If they want to stop the Bharat Jodo Yatra, they must try it. If the Bharat Jodo Yatra is causing harm to the country, then they should stop this yatra,” said Rahul, addressing a press conference at Wadegaon in Akola district in Vidarbha region.
Rahul Gandhi stood firm on his remarks on VD Savarkar that the Hindutva ideologue “wrote mercy petitions to the British and accepted pension’ and that he did so because of fear”. Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday, “I am very clear he helped the British”.
“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,” Gandhi said on Thursday.
Gandhi went ahead and translated the English lines to Hindi and said, “Sir, main aapka naukar rehna chaahta hoon“. “This is not written by me… but Savarkarji. Let everyone read this document,” Rahul Gandhi added.
“I am very clear that he helped the British,” he said, brandishing the letter he said Savarkar wrote to the British; sections of which were highlighted in blue.
— Congress (@INCIndia) November 17, 2022
“Savarkar signed this letter whereas Mahatma Gandhi, pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were in prison for years… did not write any letter. I believe Savarkarji signed this letter because of fear,” the Congress leader said.
Meanwhile, former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads a faction of the Shiv Sena, on Thursday said his party has immense respect for VD Savarkar and he does not approve of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on the freedom fighter.
Talking to reporters, Thackeray also asked why the Centre has not conferred the Bharat Ratna on Savarkar.
The Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction has an alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi.
During a rally in Washim district on Tuesday organised as part of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, Gandhi said Savarkar is a symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“He was jailed in Andaman for two-three years. He started writing mercy petitions,” the Congress MP had said.
The former Congress president had claimed Savarkar wrote a book on himself with a different name and highlighted how brave he was. “He used to take pension from the British, work for them, and work against the Congress,” Gandhi had said.
Thackeray on Thursday 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.