Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Friday targeted Congress over a Seva Dal booklet questioning Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's credentials as a patriot and his reputation for valour.
The Hindi booklet, distributed at a camp of Congress- affiliated Seva Dal in Madhya Pradesh, had also claimed that Savarkar and Mahatma Gandhi's killer Nathuram Godse were in a physical relationship.
"Veer Savarkar was a great man and will remain a great man. A section keeps talking against him. This shows the dirt in their mind," Raut said, responding to the insinuations in the booklet, titled "Veer Savarkar, Kitne 'Veer'?"
The book alleged that Savarkar received money from the British after he was released from Andaman's Cellular Jail.
Last month, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's jibe that his name was not "Rahul Savarkar" and hence he would not seek apology (about his remark on rape) had riled the Shiv Sena, his party's new-found ally in Maharashtra.
All India Congress Seva Dal training camp run by the Congress in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh has allegedly distributed a booklet, named 'How brave was Veer Savarkar'. The booklet has created a huge controversy by claiming that the Hindu Mahasabha co-founder Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse had a physical relationship.
"Before adopting brahmacharya, there is only one mention of Nathuram Godse's physical relationship. His [Godse] partner in his homosexual relationship was Veer Savarkar," India Today translated from an extract in the booklet.
The booklet also claims that Vinayak Damodar Savarkar encouraged Hindus to rape women from minority communities.
Speaking to ANI, Seva Dal National President Lalji Desai said that the writer has written on the basis of evidence. “Writer has written it on the basis of evidence. But that's not important for us. In our country today, everyone has a legal right to have their own preferences.”
On the other hand, BJP has asked Shiv Sena’s stance on the matter. "Shiv Sena must listen to Congress' views on Savarkar and decide if they should remain in such an alliance or not," Republic quoted BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha.
Earlier, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had tweeted, "Veer Savarkar is an idol of the whole country and not just Maharashtra. The name Savarkar denotes pride about nation and self. Like Nehru and Gandhi, Savarkar too sacrificed his life for the country. Every such idol must be revered. There is no compromise on this."
This was after Rahul Gandhi at the "Bharat Bachao Rally" took a dig at BJP for demanding an apology for his "rape in India" remark and said, "The BJP asked me to apologise. My name is not Rahul Savarkar, it is Rahul Gandhi, and I will never apologise for speaking the truth. I will die, but I will not apologise for speaking the truth and nor will any Congressman do so. It is Narendra Modi and his assistant Amit Shah who have to apologise to the country for destroying India's economy," he asserted.