Shiv Sena and the Congress seem to be completely at loggerheads with each other over Rahul Gandhi’s distasteful ‘Savarkar’ remark. Taking a jibe at the Congress, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has written an editorial in his ‘Rokthok’ column in party’s mouthpiece Saamana.
He has dared those criticising Savarkar for allegedly apologising to the British to spend even 72 hours in the Andaman prison.
Swinging back to the core Hindutva ideology, the Sena MP has stated that even Mahatama Gandhi and Nehru did not have to go through the kind of torment that Savarkar had undergone. He added, “Savarkar stayed in the Andaman prison for 14 years. The people who criticise him for apologising should dare to stay in that place for 72 hours.”
It ought to be mentioned here that Rahul Gandhi had recently insulted the Hindutva ideologue, Veer Savarkar by stating that he would not apologise for his ‘rape in India’ remark as he was not ‘Rahul Savarkar’. The Gandhi scion, being an incompetent dynast was obviously too naíve to even think of comparing him with a visionary nationalist like Savarkar. Owing to his remarks, the Shiv Sena, being a party that has relied on Hindutva ideologue- Savarkar ever since the time of its inception, also came under tremendous pressure.
Former Maharashtra CM, Devendra Fadnavis had remarked, “I’m stunned that the Chief Minister and other Shiv Sena MLAs also did not speak a word on this. The hunger for power has made them keep quiet and this is an insult to Savarkar. We will not let this go unless Rahul Gandhi apologises for his statement.” Though the incumbent CM, Uddhav Thackeray has been silent about this issue, he has maintained that Sena would continue to have the same stance on Savarkar.
It was never an option for Sena to stay silent when its ally in Maharashtra government went on to insult the Hindutva icon in such a blunt manner. Sena had earlier made it clear that it would not compromise with its stand on Veer Savarkar and described the visionary as a “God-like figure”. The Uddhav Thackeray led party had already drawn a lot of fire for deserting its ideology and aligning with its rivals. Rahul Gandhi’s remarks only worsened the tight spot that Shiv Sena found itself in. If Sena stays silent, it will further lose whatever political space it still enjoys, and therefore it has to speak up. Congress and Shiv Sena are therefore set for a major tussle which could eventually prove the nemesis of the coalition government in Maharashtra.