BJP’s demand for resolution honouring Savarkar rejected

Miffed: Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis leads BJP MLAs in a protest at Vidhan Bhavan on Wednesday.

Miffed: Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis leads BJP MLAs in a protest at Vidhan Bhavan on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Opposition MLAs rush to well of House in protest, seek ban on Congress publication for its remarks on Hindutva ideologue

Assembly Speaker Nana Patole on Wednesday rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) demand for a government resolution honouring Hindutva ideologue V.D. Savarkar, prompting the opposition party to disrupt proceedings in the House.

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis demanded a ban on State Congress mouthpiece Shidori for allegedly insulting Savarkar. As BJP members ran into the well of the House, Mr. Fadnavis tore a copy of Shidori. Wednesday was the Hindtuva leader’s death anniversary.

Former finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had demanded a resolution honouring Savarkar, in a bid by the BJP to corner the ruling Shiv Sena, which also idolises him. The Sena is in coalition with the Congress, which has criticised Savarkar’s ideology for years.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was not present, and Congress leaders chose to not speak on the matter. Mr. Patole continued with the day’s proceedings amid sloganeering by BJP MLAs.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said Mr. Fadnavis, as CM, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 20, 2018, and January 17, 2019, to honour Savarkar with a Bharat Ratna. “I wonder why there was a delay when the BJP was in power in Maharashtra and at the Centre. Like today, Savarkar’s death anniversary is observed every year, but never has a demand for such a resolution been made. This leads to suspicion of a political agenda,” he said.

Mr. Pawar said everyone respects Savarkar’s contribution to the freedom struggle, but not everyone agrees with some of his views.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister and Sena leader Anil Parab said the government would bring such a resolution if the Centre conferred the Bharat Ratna on Savarkar. Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said the BJP’s love for Savarkar was full of opportunism.

As business continued with the government clearing five Bills and holding one calling attention motion on violence against women, BJP MLAs remained in the well, holding up placards and photographs of Savarkar and shouting slogans against the Sena and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The House was adjourned after the important business of the day was over.

Outside the Assembly, Mr. Fadnavis told reporters, “I have never seen such a laachar [helpless] Sena before.” He recalled how Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray had hit a banner of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar with shoes for allegedly insulting Savarkar.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 5:43:48 AM |

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