Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the Congress party is not against Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as Veer Savarkar, but against the ideology of Hindutva that the leader patronised and stood for.
The former prime minister’s statements come two days after the Congress hit out at the BJP for its elections manifesto that promised Bharat Ratna for Savarkar.
The Grand Old party had said if the BJP-led government at the Centre considers conferring the country’s highest civilian honour on Savarkar on the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi, then “God save this country”.
However, on Thursday, Singh said, “We are not against Savarkarji, but the question is we are not in favour of Hindutva ideology that Savarkarji patronised and stood for”.
He also said that it was Indira Gandhi who had issued postal stamp to commemorate Savarkar.
“As far as Savarkar ji is concerned, you would recall that Indira ji had issued a postal stamp commemorating Savarkar ji. We are not against Savarkar ji, but the question is we are not in favour of Hindutva ideology that Savarkarji patronised and stood for,” he said.
Talking about the controversy around the Bharat Ratna being conferred to Savarkar, Singh said, “As far as the case of being referred to Bharat Ratna, I think since we are not likely to be in government, the issue will be settled by the government when the case comes before the committee which looks into these matters.”
The 40 page-manifesto of the Maharashtra BJP titled Sampan, Samruddha and Samarth stated that the party will strive to ensure Bharat Ratna is conferred on Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule and Veer Savarkar.
The manifesto created chaos among the opposition, with several leaders condemning the idea.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, pushed for Bharat Ratna to be conferred on Savarkar.
Addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha, PM Modi said, “Savarkar was deprived of a Bharat Ratna. It is due to his sanskar (values) that we put nationalism as the basis for nation-building.”