NAGPUR: The winter session of the Maharashtra Assembly began on a stormy note on Monday as BJP MLAs entered the House wearing saffron caps with the message 'Mi Pan Savarkar' (I am also Savarkar) printed on them.
Before entering the House, the legislators also raised slogans of "Mi Pan Savarkar", in praise of the Hindutva ideologue and freedom fighter V D Savarkar.
The BJP has taken strong objection to a remark made last week by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who rejected the saffron party's demand for an apology over his "rape in India" barb, and added that his name was Rahul Gandhi, not "Rahul Savarkar", and he will never apologise for speaking the truth.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday sought an "unconditional apology" from Gandhi over the remark.
On the first day of the state Assembly's winter session here on Monday, the House witnessed ruckus after Speaker Nana Patole asked for references made by Fadnavis on Savarkar to be omitted from official records.
After the House assembled for the day, Fadnavis moved an adjournment motion and while explaining its urgency to the Speaker, he lauded the works and devotion of Savarkar.
While the former chief minister was speaking, Patole asked the House officials not to note down Fadnavis' speech.
This irked the BJP members who objected to Patole's instructions, saying he should not be biased towards any freedom fighter.
Patole then adjourned the House for 10 minutes.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray criticised former ally BJP over allowing persecuted minorities into India under the new citizenship law, saying it was an "insult" to Savarkar who sought to bring land from the Sindhu river to Kanyakumari under "one country".
He said the Citizenship Amendment Act is against the principles of Savarkar - a proponent of Hindu rashtravad (nationalism) who is revered by the Sangh Parivar.
The chief minister also said that Sena's stand on Savarkar remains unchanged.
On Saturday, the Sena, which is leading the coalition government comprising the Thackeray-led party, NCP and Congress, reacted strongly to Gandhi's barb against Savarkar.
Sena's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said his party respects Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress should not insult Savarkar.
BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain on Sunday said the country will never forgive Rahul Gandhi for insulting Savarkar and asked the Shiv Sena to choose between power and the freedom fighter.