Uddhav said that it was under the prime minister’s powers to award the Bharat Ratna.
“We don’t agree with what Rahul Gandhi has said. What has been said (by Rahul Gandhi) is wrong. We have immense love and respect for Savarkar. This can’t be wiped off no matter how hard people try,” Uddhav said.
On his party’s coalition with the Congress in the erstwhile Maharashtra government, he suggested the BJP to ask if Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said Vande Mataram or Bharta Mata Ki Jai. “He doesn’t … but the BJP formed an alliance. Before asking us, check your own history. First learn to speak with the thoughts of Savarkar. You couldn’t take one inch of land from PoK, so don’t dare to ask us any questions about Savarkar. We are again going towards slavery, Babasaheb’s constitution is under threat so we are coming together,” he said.
On Tuesday, comparing the martyrdom of tribal leader Birsa Munda with Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Rahul had said that while the latter, who is an icon of the BJP and RSS, wrote letters and mercy petitions to the British, even offering to work with them, the Congress idolised Munda, who preferred death for the tribals and the country, but refused to be won over by the British and didn’t give up his self-respect even after offers of being given land and money.
Uddhav’s comments on Rahul are seen as significant as the Sena is a part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) with the Congress and NCP which was in power for 2.5 years in the state. Earlier this week, Uddhav’s son, Sena leader Aaditya took part in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“I’m saying it very clearly and strongly, we have immense love and respect for Swatantrayaveer Savarkar. But those who kept away from the freedom struggle and have no connection to it, followers of such organisations claiming to love Savarkar is laughable. Where were they then? The RSS was there, but they were away from the freedom struggle, so they don’t have any right to speak on Savarkar and they must not try too. But the freedom for which Savarkar sacrificed has come under threat, so we have come together to keep this freedom alive,” Uddhav said.
“First, they must ask what is their parent organisation’s contribution to the freedom struggle, and then talk to us. What Rahul Gandhi has said, we don’t agree with him. It is public sentiment now, that industries are going outside Maharashtra, the Centre has diverted. They are in power in the Centre, they came to power twice with our support, it’s been eight years. The PM has the right to give Bharat Ratna, so why haven’t you given Bharat Ratna to Savarkar in eight years,” Uddhav asked the BJP government at the Centre.
Also taking a dig at chief minister Eknath Shinde, Uddhav said that it took some people 10 years after the Sena’s chief’s death to understand who Balasaheb was.
“Now their love for Balasaheb has come to the fore. But his thoughts must not be commercialised and turned into a market. Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis has said many things, but everything has happened as per what he said. They (BJP) want control of everything, but whether to give it or not this the people have to decide. When they want control of the entire country, then what is this memorial (Bal Thackeray Memorial). He must first check what their own legacy is. We will have to find their political DNA,” Uddhav said at an event to mark the death anniversary of Sena founder late Bal Thackeray.