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

“My name is not Savarkar. My name is Gandhi and Gandhi doesn’t apologise,” Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday.

Uddhav Thackeray
Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. (File photo: IE)

Congress ally Shiv Sena has sent a warning to Rahul Gandhi over his adversarial remarks on Vinayak ‘Veer’ Savarkar while refusing to apologise for his remarks in London and following his disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP for his conviction in the “Modi surname” case.

Speaking to the media, former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Uddhav Thackeray advised Rahul Gandhi to desist from making statements that will “create fissures” in the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of his party, the NCP and Congress.

Also Read: We don’t approve of Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on Savarkar: Uddhav Thackeray

“We will not tolerate the insult of Savarkar. The alliance of Uddhav faction, Congress and NCP was made to protect democracy and we need to work unitedly. Rahul Gandhi is being provoked deliberately but if we waste time in this, democracy will cease to exist,” Uddhav said on Sunday.

Rahul Gandhi has invoked Hindutva ideologue Savarkar on multiple occasions in the past month to suggest that he wasn’t afraid and will not be cowed down by the Modi government’s “intimidation”. Under attack from the BJP which sought an apology from Rahul over his remarks on democracy in London, the Congress leader refused to do so. “My name is not Savarkar,” he said responding to questions from the press following his conviction in a defamation case that the BJP has sought to paint as an affront to the OBC community.

The Congress had taken a similar stand amid BJP’s demands for an apology for his remarks in London. In a tweet on March 19, the Congress appeared to mock Savarkar in a tweet that showed Rahul smiling, and captioned it: “Savarkar samjha kya… Naam – Rahul Gandhi hai.”

Addressing a press conference, Rahul Gandhi repeated the line he took previously and said he refuses to apologise for his London remarks or the one he made in 2019 on the “Modi surname” since his name is not Savarkar. “My name is not Savarkar. My name is Gandhi and Gandhi doesn’t apologise,” he said.

Also Read: Rahul Gandhi breaks silence on disqualification as MP: ‘Fighting for voice of India, ready to pay any price’

Coming out against Rahul, Uddhav said he considers Savarkar his idol and cannot tolerate his insult. “I want to tell Rahul Gandhi that you walked from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, Sanjay Raut walked with you, we are with you. But I want to tell Rahul Gandhi openly that this fight is for saving democracy. I want to tell Rahul Gandhi that Savarkar is our God, and we won’t tolerate his insult. We will not tolerate this at all,” he said.

The Uddhav Sena, which continued its alliance with Congress and the NCP despite being ousted from power in a rebellion by Sena leaders of the Eknath Shinde faction, has been at odds with Rahul over his take on Savarkar earlier as well. Matters came to a pass during the Bharat Jodo Yatra as well when Rahul criticised Savarkar before the Yatra entered Maharashtra. However, the differences were ironed out after Sanjay Raut joined the Yatra in the state.

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First published on: 27-03-2023 at 12:08 IST