The former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa inaugurated the Savarkar Rath Yatra in Mysuru on Tuesday with a call to counter the “negative propaganda” against Hindutva ideologue V.D. Savarkar in the State by spreading his message.
The eight-day-long yatra, which will traverse through parts of Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, and Mandya districts, comes at a time when Congress leaders, including the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, had questioned Savarkar’s contribution to the freedom struggle.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Yediyurappa, who was recently appointed a member of the BJP’s Parliamentary Board, recalled the glowing descriptions of Savarkar by eminent personalities, including former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
While Vajpayee, about 50 years ago, had emphasised the need for taking Savarkar’s message to each and every household in the country, Mr. Yediyurappa claimed that Indira Gandhi had called him a “remarkable son of India”. The BJP leader said that a number of eminent personalities in the country, including former Presidents S. Radhakrishnan and Zakir Hussain, besides socialist Ram Manohar Lohia had also praised Savarkar. “When Savarkar died in Mumbai, Congress and Communist leaders attended his funeral,” he said.
Contending that Savarkar was a patriot, who also tried to reform the Hindu religion, Mr. Yediyurappa said he was a freedom fighter who spent several years in jail. Though he did not name anybody for the negative propaganda about Savarkar while addressing the gathering at the launch of the yatra, Mr. Yediyurappa said it was a crime to defame such a personality for petty political gains.
Meanwhile, while speaking to reporters, Mr. Yediyurappa lashed out Mr. Siddaramaiah for questioning Savarkar’s role in the freedom movement. He said the Congress leader was speaking irresponsibly and added that such utterances did not behove his stature. People of the State would soon teach him a lesson, he said.
Security was tightened for Mr. Yediyurappa’s visit to Mysuru in the wake of the protests against the black flag demonstrations and hurling of eggs at Mr. Siddaramaiah’s car during the latter’s recent visit to Kodagu.