The former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday for its plan to bestow Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar posthumously. He alleged that Savarkar was a 'murderer' and added that he was one of the accused in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, but the charges could not be proved due to lack of evidence and he was freed.
Addressing his party worker Siddaramaiah said, "The murderer of Mahatma Gandhi is getting Bharat Ratna! Those who conspired to eliminate Gandhiji are getting Bharat Ratna! Should BJP be allowed to gain a foothold in Mangaluru, known as a land of intellectuals?"
Claiming that the accused in 90 out of 100 cases are acquitted, Siddaramaiah alleged that Savarkar was part of the conspiracy to assassinate Gandhi. "Now they have moved ahead to bestow Bharat Ratna to him! What will happen to the nation? That's why somebody said that you give Bharat Ratna to Nathuram Godse too. Godse was the one who assassinated Gandhiji," he said.
Alleging that RSS and Hindu Mahasabha never took part in the freedom struggle, the former chief minister said that they all had ganged up with the British. The Congress leader charged that the Sangh Parivar, including BJP, diverted people's attention from real issues in the last Lok Sabha elections.
Earlier, in a major poll promise, BJP on October 15, made a pitch for honouring Swatantraveer Savarakar with the Bharat Ratna - the highest civilian honour awarded to Indians, as mentioned in its Maharashtra election manifesto. The saffron party also pushed for Bharat Ratna for educational reformers Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule. BJP released its poll manifesto ahead of the October 21 poll date in the presence of CM Devendra Fadnavis and party working president JP Nadda in Mumbai. The manifesto is titled - 'Sampanna, Samruddha, Samarth Maharashtra.'
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who is also known as Veer Savarkar, was an Indian Independence fighter, politician, lawyer and the formulator of 'Hindutva' philosophy. He founded the Abhinav Bharat Society, which wrote extensively on the Indian Independence movement. He was later arrested and sentenced for revolutionary activities to two life terms of imprisonment totalling fifty years and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He was later released in 1921.
(With PTI inputs)