Bhopal: Ever since Congress came to power and veteran leader Kamal Nath assumed office as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, the party has been trying to dismantle the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government’s Hindutva propaganda. The BJP government, which had been in power in the state for 15 years from 2003 to 2018, was trounced by Congress in the 2018 Assembly elections.
In the last one year, the Cultural Department has organised hundred of events including seminars, poem recital, special sessions of researchers and scholars focusing on Gandhi’s ideology in a bid to shift the focus from the Hindutva based ideology introduced by the previous government.
Latest in the bid, the ruling party distributed allegedly controversial literature on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the formalutor of Hindutva philosophy. The booklet titled Veer Savarkar, Kitne Veer? was distributed during the training camp of the party’s frontal organisation, Seva Dal. The book highlights the life of former Hindu Mahasabha leader Savarkar. It mentions his days in Cellular Jail, terms of release from the jail, his stand on cows and consuming beef, and so on.
However, the publication and distribution of the book has drawn huge criticism for the party and Seva Dal from its political ally in Maharashtra – the Shiv Sena as well as the state BJP for its contents.
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Commenting on the contents of the book, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday, January 3, said, “The book shows the dirt in the minds of those who speak against Savarkar.” Notably, during the campaigning for the recently concluded Assembly elections in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena had demanded ‘Bharat Ratan’ for Savarkar and BJP chief Amit Shah had promised to deliver it.
But, Seva Dal’s national president, Lalji Desai, defended the book and said that whatever has been written is supported with reference from other published books. “Nothing in that book is the work of imagination. We stand by the contents of the book,” he added.
“When in the country, the BJP government is proving to be a threat to unity, harmony and brotherhood of the people, then the interest of the nation should be priority. Seva Dal is thinking of the country’s interest. In Maharashtra, too, they will think about the nation’s good and not about a certain caste or religion. So far as Savarkar is concerned, his words and action were a threat to the country’s unity,” he said.
Desai also argued that the BJP-RSS combine had no connection with the freedom movement. “So, when they were looking for a mascot, they mistakenly chose Savarkar who has apologised to the British 11 times, including nine times in writing,” the Seva Dal chief said.
Meanwhile, launching a scathing attack on Congress, former MP chief minister, Uma Bharti said, “Everything written in the booklet is a lie. Congress has a habit to insult great personalities.” She also asked Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray if he would still continue with his alliance with Congress after the publication of this defamatory book on Savarkar.
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“My question is to my big brother Uddhav, the one who demanded Bharat Ratna for Savarkar. Will you stay with Congress after this insult? Will you resign? I want an answer from my brother Uddhav Thackeray,” Bharti told reporters while attending a rally supporting CAA, on Friday.
Countering Bharti’s arguments, Desai explained the reason behind distributing literature on Savarkar in a Seva Dal training camp. “We want our workers to know the connection between Hindu Mahasabha and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, and that Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Nathuram Godse both belonged to the Hindu Mahasabha,” he said.