MUMBAI: Coming down hard on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks on Veer Savarkar, Maharashtra Navirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray on Sunday called him 'gadha' (idiot).
Addressing a rally in the state on Sunday, he attacked the former Congress national president, saying, "You Idiot. What is your standing to speak on Savarkar, who was lodged in jail and went through so much pain?"
Quoting an excerpt from a letter purportedly written by Savarkar to the British Raj, Rahul had claimed the saffron ideologue begged to be forgiven by the Empire, thereby betraying the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
"Veer Savarkar wrote to the British saying, 'Sir, I beg to remain your most obedient servant', and signed on it. Savarkar helped the British. He betrayed leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sardar Patel by signing this letter out of fear," he had said.
Rahul's remarks drew a huge backlash, with a complaint being registered against Rahul at Thane Nagar police station.
In his reponse to Rahul's remark, Thackeray on Sunday said what Savarkar did was part of his 'strategy'.
"There is something called 'strategy'. Even 'Krishna Niti' says that 'Sar salamat to pagdi pachaas'. Shivaji Maharaj also gave away the forts he held to Mirza Raje. They weren't gifts but a strategy," the MNS chief said.
He added that there is no point in fighting over leaders and luminaries of the past.
"I am saying this to both BJP and the Congress. There is no point in defaming the legacy of our past leaders like Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi. There are many issues in the country like unemployment and security to fight for," Thackeray said.
He also advised Rahul to "get ready for the BMC polls".