Devendra Fadnavis, leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly demanded an “unconditional apology” from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his “My name is not Rahul Savarkar” remark on Sunday (December 15).
“Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should tender an unconditional apology over his remarks on Savarkar. He does not seem to have studied India’s history of the Independence movement,” Fadnavis said.
Talking to reporters here, Fadnavis also announced that the BJP would boycott the customary tea party to be hosted by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday on the eve of the winter session of the state Assembly.
Addressing the Congress mega Bharat Bachao Rally in Delhi on Saturday (December 14), Rahul Gandhi rejected the BJP’s demand for an apology over his “rape in India” barb, and added that his name was Rahul Gandhi, not “Rahul Savarkar”. He also said that he would never apologise for speaking the truth.
The Mumbai unit of the BJP also staged a march in protest against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s comment on Hindutva icon VD Savarkar.
Many BJP leaders, including city unit BJP chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha, joined the march which began from the western suburb of Borivali at 4 pm. The march will culminate at Shivaji Park in Dadar, a distance of 25 kms.
BJP MPs Gopal Shetty and Manoj Kotak, Borivali MLA Sunil Rane and scores of the party workers are also participating in the march. They raised slogans criticising Gandhi and hailing Savarkar.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters at the BJP office here that the then prime minister Indira Gandhi of the Congress had also hailed the legacy of Savarkar. “Indira Gandhi’s government had issued a commemorative stamp on Savarkar in 1970. Gandhi had even donated ₹11,000 from her personal account to Savarkar Trust. She had also asked the Films Division to produce a documentary film on Savarkar which she personally cleared in 1983,” he said.
The former Union minister also cited a letter of Gandhi in 1980 commemorating the birth centenary celebrations of Savarkar. “Gandhi had described Savarkar as a remarkable son of India and said his daring defiance of the British government has its own important place in the annals of our freedom movement,” Hussain claimed.