‘BJP feigning love for Savarkar, using him as shield to play politics of nationalism’: Shiv Sena

The Shiv Sena attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that its attempt to “corner” Shiv Sena on the issue or Vinayak Damodar Savarkar or Veer Savarkar will not work. It said that the BJP’s newfound love for Savarkar was false and that it was using the Hindutva ideologue as a “shield” and playing “politics of nationalism”.

In a scathing attack on the BJP and its ideological fountainhead, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Sena asked in its mouthpiece Saamana what was the role of RSS in India’s freedom struggle and said that the Sangh did not even recognise Indian flag till 2002.

The BJP is attempting to corner the Sena over the Savarkar issue after it formed the government with Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). On Wednesday, there was uproar in Maharashtra Assembly after Speaker Nana Patole rejected Opposition BJP’s demand for moving a resolution honouring Savarkar on his 54th death anniversary in the House.

“The BJP leaders in Maharashtra have said that they will corner the government on the issue of Veer Savarkar. This shows that Savarkar has become a political issue for the BJP and not of respect and faith… Those who are feign to remember Savarkar today, have they really understood him? Instead of cornering the state government, [they should see] if the BJP government at Centre has respected him. Maharashtra BJP’s Fadnavis, Patil, Mungantiwar, Shelar, etc. should ask the Centre,” an editorial in Saamana said.

It added that what happened to the Devendra Fadnavis’ demand to honour Savarkar with ‘Bharat Ratna’ via two letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when Fadnavis was the chief minister. It also questioned the Centre as to why was Savarkar not given Bharat Ratna on this Republic Day.

Attacking the RSS, the Sena said that it did not accept independence and the Indian tri-colour. It asked, “Veer Savarkar has immense contribution in India’s freedom struggle. But where was the BJP or the ‘Sangh parivar’ at that time?” It added, “The RSS was banned twice by Sardar Patel. The ban which was lifted on a condition that Indian tri-colour is the national flag. This condition was accepted by Golwalkar guriji, but it was not fulfilled till 2002. The saffron flag is Shiv Sena’s identity but with that Indian flag is also fluttered. This is our nationalism.”