Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s statement on Veer Savarkar has appeared to have not gone well with the party’s alliance partners in Maharashtra, the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of Shiv Sena.
Thackeray has not only disapproved of the comments but has also indicated potentially breaking away from the Maha Vikas Agadhi (MVA).
On Thursday, he said that his party has immense respect for V. D. Savarkar and he does not approve of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's remarks about the late Hindutva ideologue. Talking to reporters, Thackeray said he joined hands with the Congress to protect the same freedom for which Savarkar made sacrifices.
During a rally in Washim district on Tuesday, Gandhi said Savarkar was jailed in Andaman for “two-three years” and “started writing mercy petitions”.
Savarkar also wrote a book on himself with a different name and highlighted how brave he was, and he used to take pension from the British, work for them and work against the Congress, Gandhi had alleged.
Following this, the BJP and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde targeted the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena faction.
Senior leader of Uddhav Thackeray faction, Sanjay Raut, in an interview, too, had expressed souring of relationship between the MVA partners after Gandhi's statement. He had called the commentary on Savarkar "embarrassing" for Congress.
The Thackeray-led Shiv Sena has an alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra. Thackeray's son and former Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray joined Gandhi in his foot march last week.
However, when asked if he himself would be attending a rally at Shegaon during the Yatra in Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray indicated “no” with a wave of his hand.
The disparaging remarks made by Gandhi scion have put the Thackeray faction in a difficult position. The situation has necessitated a strong response from the party, considering Savarkar’s disrespect is a matter of principle for the Shiv Sena.
The party already suffered due to Thackeray’s shift from the Hindutva ideology in lieu of forming a government with Congress and NCP as coalition partners.
If they continue to stay in an alliance with the Congress, it would indicate further weakening of Thackeray’s leadership.
(with inputs from PTI)
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