Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel who was in the capital after a whirlwind tour of Uttar Pradesh where he campaigned for Congress in by-elections, thinks that Hindu Mahasabha leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was not “veer” (brave) at all.
Talking to National Herald, Baghel, who is known as a socialist CM within Congress, questioned Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah’s rational to push Sarvarkars name for Bharat Ratna.
He sauid, “Savarkar was directly involved in the killing of Mahatma Gandhi and you are calling him a patriot! How can BJP even think and talk about it? This is extremely unfortunate”.
According to Baghel, calling Sarvarkar “veer” who filed four mercy petitions before Britishers and then pushing his name for Bharat Ratna is actually aimed at erasing the communal past of the RSS-BJP.
“When entire India was fighting for the freedom under Gandhi’s leadership, Savarkar was writing mercy petitions from Cellular jail,” asserted Baghel adding that Savarkar and Hindu Mahasabha also, apart from Muslim League, believed on the “two-nation theory” which eventually led to the division of the nation and assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Citing history, he argued that Hindu Mahasabha, RSS and and the Muslim league were equally responsible for the division of the country.
It is worth mentioning here that a month after arriving in the Cellular Jail, Savarkar submitted his first mercy petition on 30 August 1911. However, merely four days after the submission, his petition was rejected on 3 September 1911.
Savarkar submitted his next mercy petition on 14 November 1913, calling himself as a “prodigal son” longing to return to the “parental doors of the government”.
In his second mercy petition, Savarkar wrote that his release from the jail will recast the faith of many Indians in the British rule.
Three years later, in 1917, Savarkar submitted his third mercy petition. According to the Royal proclamation, Savarkar submitted his fourth mercy petition to the British Government on 30 March 1920. In his last petition Sarvarkar expressed his regrets for his revolutionary past and reiterated his “firm intention to abide by the constitution”.
However, a lesser-known fact of the history is that in 1920 after Britishers rejected Sarvarkar’s fourth petition, the Indian National Congress and leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Vithalbhai Patel and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded his “unconditional release”. Ironically, 28 years later, he was charged with conspiring to kill Gandhi who had demanded his release from the Cellular jail
Highlighting ideological differences between Congress and the BJP, Baghel said that while Congress believes and preaches Gandhian philosophy, BJP follows the path of Godse.
When asked about the Congress’ prospect in by-elections being held in UP and Haryana-Maharashtra elections, Baghel said, “In contrary to the projections and predictions made by the mainstream media, results in these elections may surprise us”.