Rahul Dials Sanjay Raut Amid Savarkar Row; Sena MP Says Such Gestures Rare in Times of Political Bitterness


Days after Uddhav Thackeray voiced his disapproval over the remarks made by Rahul Gandhi on Hindutva Ideologue Veer Savarkar, Sanjay Raut, who is a key figure of Uddhav’s Sena faction, seemed to be extending an olive branch to the Congress leader who is currently on a pan-India unity march.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday said he received a call from Congress MP Rahul Gandhi who enquired about his health, adding that such gestures were becoming rare in times of “political bitterness”.

“Rahul Gandhi called and checked on me yesterday despite his busy schedule amid Bharat Jodo Yatra. He said we were concerned about your well-being and said take care, we will work together again,” Sanjay Raut said.

Raut also added that Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, a mass contact initiative underway from September 7, is getting a massive response because he is “focussing on love and compassion”.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi last week stood firm on his remarks on VD Savarkar that the Hindutva ideologue “wrote mercy petitions to the British and accepted pension’ and that he did so because of fear”. Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday, “I am very clear he helped the British”.

“See this. This is the most important document for me. This is the document that comprises Savarkar’s letter to [the] British in which he has stated ‘I beg to remain, sir, your most obedient servant, VD Savarkar,” Gandhi said on Thursday.

Gandhi went ahead and translated the English lines to Hindi and said, “Sir, main aapka naukar rehna chaahta hoon“. “This is not written by me… but Savarkarji. Let everyone read this document,” Rahul Gandhi added.

“I am very clear that he helped the British,” he said, brandishing the letter he said Savarkar wrote to the British; sections of which were highlighted in blue.

“Savarkar signed this letter whereas Mahatma Gandhi, pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were in prison for years… did not write any letter. I believe Savarkarji signed this letter because of fear,” the Congress leader said.

Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads a faction of the Shiv Sena, on Thursday had said his party has immense respect for VD Savarkar and he does not approve of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on the freedom fighter.

Talking to reporters, Thackeray also asked why the Centre has not conferred the Bharat Ratna on Savarkar.

The Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction has an alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi.

During a rally in Washim district on Tuesday organised as part of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, Gandhi said Savarkar is a symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

“He was jailed in Andaman for two-three years. He started writing mercy petitions,” the Congress MP had said.

The former Congress president had claimed Savarkar wrote a book on himself with a different name and highlighted how brave he was. “He used to take pension from the British, work for them, and work against the Congress,” Gandhi had said.

Thackeray on Thursday said, “We do not approve of Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on Savarkar. We have immense respect and faith for Swatyantra Veer Savarkar and it cannot be erased.

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