Throwing an open dare to the ruling Shiv Sena on Monday, senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar questioned whether the former would back the welcome motion on freedom fighter Veer Savarkar. He revealed that the BJP planned to introduce the motion in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly to accord due respect to Savarkar. Explaining the rationale of this move, Mungantiwar opined that many leaders had defamed Savarkar in the last few days.
Mungantiwar remarked, "These days it has been observed that a lot of wrong things are being said by various leaders about Veer Savarkar. To give due respect to the freedom fighter, we demand that in the upcoming session of the Maharashtra assembly, a welcome motion regarding this to be tabled for discussion in the House."
"We want to see the Shiv Sena, which is in power, supports this motion or not. Shiv Sena is the party that had praised Savarkar many times but after forming the government in Maharashtra, they are silent over it. We also want to see whether they love Veer Savarkar or the Chief Minister's chair,” he added.
Addressing the Bharat Bachao rally in the national capital in December 2019, Rahul Gandhi refused to apologise for his ‘Rape in India’ comment saying that he was not ‘Rahul Savarkar’. He was indirectly referring to Savarkar’s alleged apology to the British seeking an early release from the Andaman jail. This resulted in a furious backlash from BJP leaders including Devendra Fadnavis.
Despite Shiv Sena's traditional support for Savarkar, it was perceived to have moved away from its Hindutva stance owing to the compulsions of its alliance with NCP and Congress. The ideological dilemma for the Sena came to the fore on this issue. Initially, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut defended Savarkar both on Twitter as well as in the Saamana newspaper. Taking an indirect dig at its ally Congress for painting freedom fighter Veer Savarkar in a poor light, Raut dared those accusing Savarkar of apologising to the British to spend even 72 hours in the Andaman prison. However, party supremo Uddhav Thackeray refused to comment on Rahul Gandhi’s remark that had sparked off the controversy in the first place.