MUMBAI: Reacting to the BJP promising that it shall push for Bharat Ratna award for Savarkar, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the matter shouldn't be mentioned in an election manifesto.
"How can it be an issue of a Sankalp Patra or the party manifesto? Is he out there waiting for a reward? This should have come naturally owing to the ideological closeness. It certainly can’t be a political issue," the Rajya Sabha MP said.
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"It is already over 10 years of delay for Bharat Ratna to Savarkar. It should have been done during the five years of Vajpayee or five years of Modi in the Prime Minister' seat. It is three months now that our government is back in the saddle and I hope that at least now Bharat Ratna is conferred upon Savarkar," Raut added.
However, Shiv Sena spokesperson Dr Neelam Gorhe expressed happiness over the BJP’s move. "Our party has been raising this demand for a long time. We are glad that BJP too has raised it now. Apart from his political thoughts, Savarkar was a great poet, an author of eminence, a social reformer, a great proponent of science. This contribution of his certainly deserves him Bharat Ratna," she said.
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Maharashtra Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant, however, accused the BJP of using Savarkar for political gains. "The BJP has developed a habit of evaluating every personality from history with the present day political gains. They don’t share Phule’s ideology. They also don’t agree with Savarkar in totality, certainly not his thoughts on cow. Then what is this? It is just an eye on votes," Sawant said.
Political analysts Sunil Tambe said that he sees this as an attempt to include Savarkar in the 'Idea of India'. "Pre-Andaman Savarkar is fairly accepted for his role in the freedom movement. However, the current dispensation wants to establish the Hindutva ideologue Savarkar, which in my personal view is objectionable," Tambe said.
The BJP announced in its party manifesto for the Maharashtra Assembly elections that it will pitch the highest civilian award for Savarkar, Mhatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule.