Backing Congress leader Rahul Gandhi firmly on his statement that right wing ideologue Veer Savarkar “used to take pension from the British”, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole on Saturday said that critics of Mr. Gandhi should explain why Savarkar was receiving ₹60 as pension from the British.
Addressing a rally in Washim district earlier this week, Mr. Gandhi had referred to Savarkar as a symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and that he had written mercy petitions from the Cellular Jail in Port Blair, and later a book on himself using a different name to show how brave he was.
Mr. Patole responded after Mr. Gandhi’s remarks on Savarkar were criticised, and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that such comments would hamper the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in Maharashtra. “Those who criticised Rahul Gandhi for his comments on Savarkar should first reply why the latter was getting a pension of ₹60 from the British,” Mr. Patole said.
On Saturday, while talking to reporters, Rajya Sabha member Mr. Raut said, “Attempts to besmirch the reputations of both Pandit Nehru and Savarkar must stop. Freedom fighters who made sacrifices for the country’s Independence do not belong to any ideology or political party. Savarkar and all other freedom fighters are respectable to us and these leaders are not alive and therefore can not defend themselves now.”
The former Congress president and Wayanad MP also alleged in his Bharat Jodo Yatra that Savarkar worked for the British and against the Congress. Addressing a press conference in Akola on Thursday, Mr. Gandhi said he stood by his remarks and claimed that Savarkar had helped British authorities and written his mercy petition “out of fear”.