Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Thursday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should make its stand on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj clear instead of questioning the Congress over V D Savarkar.
Speaking during the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa district, Ramesh also said Rahul Gandhi’s controversial statements about Savarkar were a closed chapter, but claimed that the Hindutva ideologue had ”tried to break the country.” Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari is facing flak for calling Shivaji Maharaj an icon of olden times, while BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi has come under fire for allegedly saying that Shivaji Maharaj had apologised to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
”You always question us on Savarkar. I ask BJP leaders, the Maharashtra governor, and BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, what is the BJP’s stand on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj? What all they have not said about Shivaji Maharaj,” the Congress’s media head said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s swipes at Savarkar for writing `mercy petitions’ to the British while in prison had created controversy during the Yatra’s Maharashtra leg.
Ramesh said it was a ”side issue” and ”closed chapter”.
”We are uniting the country with the Bharat Jodo Yatra, but Savarkar had always tried to break India. And BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are doing it today,” he alleged.
India was breaking because of the BJP’s ”political dictatorship” along with economic disparities and social polarisation, he said.
Ramesh also took a swipe at Union minister and former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia by referring to Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s famous Hindi poem on Rani Laxmi Bai, `Khub Ladi Mardani’.
”Khandwa is connected Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, and `Khoob Ladi….has a special mention of Scindia,” he said.
The poem, which celebrates the valour of the Queen of Jhansi who died fighting British forces, refers to the then Scindia ruler of Gwalior as a friend of the British. Asked if the Yatra will help the Congress win the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, which are due next year, Ramesh said the foot-march was ”apolitical”.