Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut sparked off yet another controversy on Saturday after his statement that those who opposing Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar should be asked to stay in the jail in Andaman where he was lodged and only then will they ‘realize the sacrifice and contribution to the nation’.
Shiv Sena's ruling ally Congress party sharply reacted to Raut's statement. Congress is against offering the highest civilian honour to Savarkar who is hailed in high esteem by the right-wing parties. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Sachin Sawant argued that Bharat Ratna should be given to all those who suffered during the British rule without apology.
However, the Shiv Sena was quick to distance itself from Raut statement after Congress party said it was uncalled for.
Realising that Raut's statement may create rift between Shiv Sena and its allies Congress and NCP, Sena youth leader and Tourism Minister Aaaditya Thackeray did a balacning act. He said that Raut’s statement is his personal opinion. “Our alliance with Congress is intact. When two different ideologies come together it is known as democracy,” Thackeray said.
Raut’s statement was, however, welcomed by Savarakar’s grandson Ranjit Savarkar. “I welcome Sanjay Raut's statement. In the past also, the Shiv Sena aggressively opposed the defamation of Savarkar. I expect that the Sena will now convince the Congress leaders not to oppose Savarkar."
Taking a jibe at Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, Ranjit said that the leaders of the grand old party are “parroting what Gandhi says”. “Sanjay Raut has dared Rahul Gandhi to go to Goa and Andaman. It itself speaks very clearly,” Ranjit said.
Earlier, Raut had set-off a political storm with his remarks that the former Prime Minister had met gangster Karim Lala in Mumbai. Congress rebuked Raut calling Shiv Sena "ill-informed." Thereafter, Raut clarified that saying that he was misquoted.
Sena youth leader Aaditya Thackeray came to Raut's help. ''Sanjay Raut's statement was taken out of context. With the kind of respect late Balasaheb Thackeray had for late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, I do not think there will be any unpleasant remark from Sena workers," Aaditya Thackeray said.
Further, Raut had courted controversy when he said former MP and BJP leader Udayanraje Bhosale should give proof that he is a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Raut also asserted that no one has ownership right over the Maratha warrior king.
Udayanraje Bhosale rebutted Raut and dared Shiv Sena to remove the word ''Shiv'' from its name and rechristen the party as ''Thackeray Sena.''