God save this country: Cong on BJP's 'Savarkar' demand

Last Updated 15 October 2019, 13:07 IST

Hitting out at the BJP for mooting Bharat Ratna award for Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, the Congress on Tuesday said that if the government considers it on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, then "God save this country".

The opposition party's derisive response came after the election manifesto of Maharashtra BJP, released on Tuesday, said the party will ask the NDA government at the Centre to confer India's highest civilian award on Savarkar.

"In a country where Mahatma Gandhi is being made to commit suicide in examinations, anything is possible," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said at a press conference, referring to the row over a question in the internal assessment examination of some schools in Gujarat.

Savarkar had faced criminal trial in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, Tewari said, adding that he was later acquitted.

The Congress spokesperson cited an article which claimed that the Kapur Commission concluded that facts pointed towards a "conspiracy to murder by Savarkar and his group" in Mahatma Gandhi's case.

"If on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, this government considers any such thing (giving Bharat Ratna to Savarkar), then all I want to say is that God save this country," Tewari said.

Asked if there was a contradiction between the recent praise for Gandhi by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and the demand for Bharat Ratna for Savarkar, Tewari alleged that it was a coordinated and well thought out strategy "that on one hand keep praising Mahatma Gandhi and on the other hand make such a demand".

"But if what has been written in the article about the conclusions of the Kapur Commission is correct, then the government should seriously think that on Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary, is this step appropriate," he said.

In its election manifesto, released by BJP working president J P Nadda, the party's state unit also sought the honour for social reformers Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule, a party leader said.

The manifesto speaks of "pursuing the matter with the central government," the leader said.

Many BJP leaders look up to Savarkar for inspiration although he was a member of the Hindu Mahasabha and not the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP.

(Published 15 October 2019, 12:26 IST)

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