The war of words over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's remarks on Damodar Savarkar seems to have intensified with Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut issuing a veiled threat to its Maharashtra ally to not 'insult' the Hindutva icon.
Earlier Saturday Rahul refused to apologise for his 'Rape In India' remark, saying he "will die but never apologise" for speaking the truth as his name is Gandhi and not Savarkar.
Savarkar is revered as Hindutva icon for the BJP but is accused by its rivals of tendering apologies to the British government to secure his release from jail when India was under colonial rule.
In a series of tweets in Marathi, Raut said that there will be "no compromises on Savarkar".
"Veer Savarkar is the god of not only Maharashtra but also the country. The name Savarkar is the pride of nation. Like Nehru and Gandhi, Savarkar sacrificed his life for independence. Every such god should be honoured. There are no compromises. Jai Hind"
"We believe in Pandit Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi. Do not insult Veer Savarkar," Raut added without naming the Congress.
विर सावरकर हे महाराष्ट्राचेच नव्हे तर देशाचे दैवत आहे.
सावरकर नावात राष्ट्राभिमान आणि स्वाभिमान आहे. नेहरू ,गांधी यांच्या प्रमाणेच सावरकर यांनी स्वातंत्र्यासाठी जीवनाचा होम केला. अशा प्रत्येक दैवताचा सन्मान करायला हवा.इथे तडजोड नाहीत.
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) December 14, 2019
आम्ही पंडित नेहरू,महात्मा गांधी यांना मानतो तुम्ही वीर सावरकरांचा अपमान करू नका.सुज्ञांस अधिक सांगणे न लगे. जय हिंद — Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) December 14, 2019
Addressing the Congress' mega "Bharat Bachao Rally" at Ramlila grounds in New Delhi, Rahul took a dig at the BJP for demanding an apology for his remark and said, "The BJP asked me to apologise. My name is not Rahul Savarkar, it is Rahul Gandhi, and I will never apologise for speaking the truth."
"I will die, but I will not apologise for speaking the truth and nor will any Congressman do so. It is Narendra Modi and his assistant Amit Shah who have to apologise to the country for destroying India's economy," he asserted.
The BJP too had slammed Rahul for his remark on Savarkar, calling him "Rahul Jinnah" and saying "Rahul thoda sharam kar".
Targeting Rahul, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said, "The more appropriate name for you Rahul Gandhi is RAHUL JINNAH. Your Muslim appeasement politics and mindset makes you a worthy legatee of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, not Savarkar."
Another party spokesperson Sambit Patra said Rahul can never be 'Rahul Savarkar' as Savarkar stood for "patriotism, bravery and sacrifice" while the Congress leader is somebody who spoke what Pakistan said on issues like the citizenship bill, Article 370 and surgical strikes among others.
Amit Malviya, the BJP IT cell head, tweeted sarcastically that the former Congress president was right that he can never be Rahul Savarkar.
"For once Rahul Gandhi is right. He can never be 'Rahul Savarkar'. Veer Savarkar is a national icon, who has had a civilisational impact on India's polity and will continue to be revered for generations to come. Five generations of Nehru-Gandhi family can't measure up to his legacy," he said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 14, 2019 18:58:09 IST