Mumbai : The war of words over “Hinduvta” between the Shiv Sena and the state BJP seems to have intensified with Shiv Sena’s spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut questioning why the Narendra Modi government has not awarded a Bharat Ratna to Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
The vocal Rajya Sabha member pointed out that Sena never changed its stand on Savarkar. “Whenever an inappropriate comment was made to insult him, we stood by him,” he claimed and challenged the BJP that why didn’t they give him Bharat Ratna as they have been in power for six years now.
Reacting on the tweet of the BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam that why Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray did not “utter a single word of praise” for Savarkar during Sena’s Dussehra rally, Raut asserted that there was no change in the party’s stance on Savarkar.
In his speech on Sunday on the occasion of Dussera, the chief minister Thackeray had criticised the BJP, saying that the party has no ideology, norms, or culture. He further said that those questioning the Shiv Sena’s Hindutva should know that his party’s definition of the ideology does not involve “clanging bells and utensils.” Thackeray even said that BJP must learn Hindutva from its ideological fountainhead, the RSS.
Earlier this month, Thackeray and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had engaged in an exchange of letters on reopening religious places in the state amid the coronavirus crisis. Thackeray told the governor that he did not need a “certificate” of Hindutva from him, after Koshyari asked him if he had “turned secular”.
In December, shortly after the Congress and Shiv Sena allied to form a government in Maharashtra, Raut had criticised Rahul Gandhi for a comment on Savarkar. Raut had said that the Hindutva ideologue was akin to a god not just for Maharashtra but for the whole country and there can be “no compromise” in respect for him.