Maharashtra Assembly : Savarkar honour rejected

Mumbai, Feb 26 (IANS) The Maharashtra Assembly witnessed uproarious scenes on Wednesday after Speaker Nana Patole rejected Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s demand for moving a resolution honouring Vinayak Damodar alias Veer Savarkar on his 54th death anniversary in the House.

Several BJP members arrived in the assembly donning caps with ‘Mi Pan Savarkar’ (Me Too Savarkar) written and later, attempting to embarrass the Shiv Sena, demanded a resolution to honour the Hindutva ideologue.

BJP leaders said they wanted Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to move the resolution, attempting to corner the three ruling parties in Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) — Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress — though the CM was not present in the House at that time.

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis urged the government should move a resolution honouring Veer Savarkar, his sacrifices and contribution to Indian independence movement.

However, NCP’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar turned the tables to target the BJP, wanting to know why the BJP-led government at the Centre has not yet conferred the Bharat Ratna on Veer Savarkar.

“When the BJP was in power in Maharashtra and at the Centrea the former CM Fadnavis had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice, on Aug. 20, 2018 and Jan. 17, 2019, urging the Centre to confer the Bharat Ratna on Veer Savarkar. Then, what’s the hitch,” said Ajit Pawar, countering the BJP onslaught.

Speaker Patole (Congress) rejected the BJP’s demand and continued with the day’s business.

The agitated BJP members trooped into the well of the house, raised slogans condemning the government, carried photos of Veer Savarkar and attempted to hold mock proceedings to honour the Hindutva ideologue.

BJP senior leader Sudhir Mungantiwar had tabled the motion before Speaker Nana Patole saying: “In the past few days, there have been several disgusting and unpalatable statements made against Veer Savarkar. There has been an attempt to create confusion and misguide people about his role in the freedom struggle in his birth state. February 26 is his death anniversary and the State Assembly must pass a motion in his honour.”

When the matter came up before the business advisory committee recently, Thackeray diplomatically ruled that it would be the Speaker’s decision, who rejected the BJP’s resolution today in the House.

Targeting the MVA, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis alleged that the Shiv Sena has become so helpless that it is siding with those who are insulting Veer Savarkar, “but the people will not forgive this”.

Today’s development, which left the BJP stunned, seems to indicate a gradual warming up and close bonding among the three MVA allies on the question of the Opposition’s resolution to honour Veer Savarkar.

Before its three-decade-old alliance with BJP broke last year and the Sena joined hands with the NCP-Congress, the state saffron party had demanded Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar several times, including through edits in the party’s influential newspaper, ‘Saamana’ and ‘Dopahar ka Saamana’.

However, in view of the recent controversies, including utterances by the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and others, the Congress’ views on the issue are well known though the NCP treads with caution on the sensitive matter while the Sena which finds itself in a cleft stick, has been at the receiving end of the BJP’s ire.