Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Tuesday dared Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray to walk out of Maha Vikas Aghadi if he really cannot tolerate late Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar’s ”insult” by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Addressing a press conference here, Bawankule said the country can never forget the contribution of Savarkar.
Gandhi’s ”My name is not Savarkar, my name is Gandhi and Gandhi does not offer an apology to anyone” remark has drawn fire from BJP.
The former Congress chief made this remark while addressing a press conference after being disqualified from Lok Sabha and amid BJP’s demands for his apology for allegedly insulting OBCs (Other Backward Classes) with his ”Modi surname remark” that got him convicted for criminal defamation. Against this backdrop, Thackeray told a rally in Maharashtra on Sunday that he considers Savarkar as his ”idol”, and asked Gandhi to refrain from ”insulting” him. ”Uddhav Thackeray is just doing drama by saying the insult of Savarkar is not acceptable. While Rahul Gandhi has been targeting Savarkar for the last three years, he (Thackeray) was only concerned about his and his son’s ministerial posts (when he was the chief minister),” Bawankule alleged.
He said Shiv Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray never tolerated the insult of Savarkar but Uddhav is tolerating it every day.
”You say Savarkar’s insult is unacceptable. If that is the case then why aren’t you leaving MVA? I dare Uddhav to slap a photo of Rahul Gandhi on this issue,” the BJP leader said.
The MVA, formed after the 2019 Maharashtra elections and which remained in power till June 2022 when the Thackeray-led government collapsed, comprises Shiv Sena (UBT), Nationalist Congress Party, and Congress. Bawankule’s remarks come a day after chief minister Eknath Shinde targeted Uddhav saying Bal Thackeray had launched a ”joda mara abhiyaan” (hitting with slippers) in 2004 against the then Union minister and Congressman Mani Shankar Aiyar for his remarks against Savarkar. He announced the BJP will take out ‘Veer Savarkar Gaurav Yatras’ in all 288 Assembly segments in Maharashtra from March 30 to April 6, and apart from senior BJP leaders including Devendra Fadnavis, CM Shinde and 40 MLAs of Shiv Sena will also participate.
”We will reach out to people with the history of Savarkar and how he is being insulted by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and MPCC chief Nana Patole,” he said.
Bawankule claimed Uddhav Thackeray has been using his surname to attack him which amounts to insulting the OBC community.