Savarkar showdown: Sanjay Raut speaks to Rahul Gandhi, says ‘matter resolved’

Shiv Sena (UBT) had warned of fissures in the MVA alliance if Rahul Gandhi did not stop “insulting” Savarkar.

Sanjay Raut on Rahul Gandhi's Savarkar remarks
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut. (PTI file image)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is likely to tone down his attacks against Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said on Wednesday. According to The Indian Express, the Sena (Uddhav faction) leader said he has spoken to Gandhi and the matter has been resolved.

The dialogue between the two party leaders came after Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray warned Rahul Gandhi to stop issuing remarks that could “cause fissures” within the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of the Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP and the Congress.

Also Read: ‘Won’t tolerate insult’: Uddhav Sena’s warning to Rahul Gandhi over ‘Savarkar’ remarks

Addressing mediapersons following his disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP, Rahul Gandhi ruled out issuing an apology over his remarks against the “Modi surname”. “My name is not Savarkar. My name is not Gandhi… Gandhi does not apologise,” Rahul said, adding that he will continue to question Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP over the former’s Adani links.

Rahul’s remarks triggered a strong reaction from Uddhav who said his party will not tolerate any insult to Savarkar. “Savarkar is our deity…we will not tolerate any insult to him,” Uddhav said addressing a gathering in Malegaon on Sunday.

Speaking to The Indian Express on Wednesday, Raut said the Shiv Sena (UBT) had raised its concerns over Rahul’s remarks two days ago and also skipped the meeting of Opposition leaders called by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge at his residence in New Delhi. However, following his converation with Rahul, Raut said the party has received a positive response regarding their concerns and will attend the Opposition meeting today and also participate in the protests in parliament.

“The issue has ended for us… The matter has been resolved… I have spoken to Rahul Gandhi about the issue,” IE quoted Raut as saying.

The resolution between the two parties paves the way for Sena (UBT) to reunite with an Opposition that has rallied around Congress following Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification. The Congress, which has ramped up its fight against the Modi government, has found support from unlikely quarters, including the Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee.

However, the Shiv Sena remained elusive as a joint Opposition undertook protests inside and outside Parliament, cornering the government on the Adani issue and the alleged misuse of central agencies.

Also Read: Uddhav Thackeray’s hard talk pushes Opposition rethink on Savarkar

The Shiv Sena (UBT) which has been in an alliance with the Congress despite being ousted from power in Maharashtra is struggling to strike a balance between its core Hindutva agenda and maintaining relations with the Congress in wake of Rahul’s attacks against Savarkar. The Sena (UBT) has been one of the biggest supporters of Savarkar and even demanded a BHarat Ratna for the late ideologue.

For now, Raut says that Opposition stands united against the BJP in Maharashtra and across the country. Asked how the party will respond if Rahul raises the issue once again, Raut said he was confident it won’t happen. “If Rahul Gandhi raises the issue again, we will see what to do… But we are confident he will not raise the issue,” he said.

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First published on: 29-03-2023 at 14:31 IST