Joshi supports the BJP leader’s candidature for PM’s post
You must give due place to deserving freedom fighters: Advani
“We attained swaraj but could not change it into suraj”
Mumbai: The BJP has criticised the Congress for its stance on freedom fighter V.D. Savarkar and said the place where he was imprisoned in the Andamans was a holy spot for all patriots.
“The party, which was in the Opposition then and is ruling currently, boycotted the function organised during the NDA regime to unveil Savarkar’s portrait in Parliament,” senior BJP leader L.K. Advani said.
He was speaking at a function in northwest Mumbai to unveil a statue of Shivaji.
“You can have ideological differences with someone but you must give due place to the deserving freedom fighters,” Mr. Advani said, lauding the role of Savarkar, whose name figured in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case.
In 2004, senior Congress leader and Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar ordered the removal of a plaque containing quotes of the freedom fighter from the Cellular Jail in the Andamans.
Without naming the Nehru-Gandhi family, he said it was unfortunate that persons hailing from a single family had been accorded iconic status, instead of more deserving people such as Shivaji Maharaj and Savarkar.
Mr. Advani said: “We attained swaraj [independence] but could not change it into suraj [good governance].”
Citing the policies of Shivaji, who implemented concepts such as the Ashtapradhan mandal (council of eight ministers), he said the warrior king was a role model not only for Maharashtra but also for the entire nation.
He also listed the contributions made by the National Democratic Alliance regime to honour the memory of Shivaji and Savarkar.
Senior Sena leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi said: “It is the will of God that Advani becomes Prime Minister.”
Mr. Joshi’s statement assumes significance in the backdrop of the Sena chief on several occasions stating that Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar was a competent candidate for the post.
However, Mr. Advani did not comment on Mr. Joshi’s statement.
Relations between the saffron allies have been uneasy with the Sena supporting UPA nominee Pratibha Patil during the Presidential poll last year.
Meets Bal Thackeray
Later in the night, Mr. Advani met Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray at his Bandra residence here.
“It was a courtesy call by the senior BJP leader,” a Sena spokesperson said.
Mr. Advani presented a copy of his recently released book My Country, My Life to the Sena chief. — PTI