The reassurance came after the Sena protested against Rahul targeting Savarkar, with ex-Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray calling the Hindutva supporter an idol for his organisation. Rahul consistently accused Savarkar of cowardice, saying that he had apologized to the British to secure his freedom. “I’m a Gandhi,” he said after his disqualification on Saturday.
MVA in mind, Rahul could soften the criticisms of Savarkar
After Shiv Sena objected to Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about Savarkar and skipped Monday’s dinner convened by Congress, it was learned that NCP chief Sharad Pawar had a separate meeting with Sonia Gandhi, although it may have been on broader oppositional issues.
In the wake of Sena’s boycott of the meeting hosted by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, sources said Pawar raised the issue and explained Savarkar’s life and issues in detail. It is learned that Savarkar was never a member of the RSS and his views were extreme but also at odds with the RSS, for example on the ‘use’ of the cow, which was against the RSS belief that it was a “sacred animal”. .
The topic, which was also touched upon by a couple of other leaders, elicited a response from Rahul. The former MP is said to have noted that he believed Savarkar had indeed apologized to the British, but he added that in the alliance, the feelings and emotions of partners should be respected. He added that he will keep that in mind in the future.
While arguing that Savarkar is respected by some people in Maharashtra, Pawar said that Savarkar’s Hindu Mahasabha just won a seat once in an election, questioning why he should be under fire. He also said that referring to Savarkar in such harsh tones would only damage the cohesion of the alliance and would be of no use in the fight against the rival BJP.
Rahul’s acknowledgment of Sena’s feelings seems to have melted the brief friction between the allies. AICC Secretary General KC Venugopal said, “We will sort it out between us.” AICC spokesman Jairam Ramesh said, “I told you that 18 parties attended the meeting (Monday) while today there were 19. It means that Sena was there too.”
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut met with Rahul for a discussion on Tuesday. Raut later said that there should be no confusion as to who the opposition is fighting – Modi or Savarkar, and that the opposition is united that the Savarkar issue should not be raised.