Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi praised Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar on Monday, saying he was an ‘accomplished man’ who played a part in the freedom struggle, fought for Dalit rights and went to jail for the country, days after the Bharatiya Janata Party's Maharashtra unit proposed a 'Bharat Ratna' for him.
Singhvi, however, said he did not subscribe to Savarkar's ideology, while noting that one cannot agree with the jingoism or ‘violent elements of Savarkar's nationalism’ nor with his ‘vicious anti-Gandhism’.
He said one can accept that Savarkar was imbued by nationalist motives.
Commonly known as Veer Savarkar, he was an Indian independence activist, politician, lawyer, writer, and the formulator of the Hindutva philosophy.
‘I personally don't subscribe to Savarkar's ideology but that doesn't take away the fact that he was an accomplished man who played part in our freedom struggle, fought for Dalit rights and went to jail for the country,’ the Rajya Sabha MP tweeted with the hashtag 'never forget'.
In another tweet, he said, ‘The strength of Indian thinking has been inclusive. Many strands of the freedom movement have existed -- one cannot agree with the jingoism or violent elements of Savarkar's nationalism nor with his vicious anti- Gandhism but one can accept that he was imbued by nationalist motives.’
Singhvi's tweets came on a day when Maharashtra goes to polls to elect its new government.
The Congress leader also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for tapping soft power of Bollywood to spread Mahatma Gandhi's message of 'swachhta' that, he said, will help maximize eyeballs on the issue.
‘Surprised that Modi did not invoke the powers of Viveks (Agni and Ober), Ash Pan, Kashmiri Pandit from Himachal and Abhi Da to spread the message of Gandhiji. Maybe because he was looking for soft power and not sangh power.
‘Appreciation should be given where it is due. Narendra Modi tapping soft power of Bollywood to spread Gandhi ji's message of Swachta will help maximize eyeballs on the issue,’ the Congress leader said on Twitter.
The Maharashtra BJP's manifesto for the October 21 assembly elections had said the party will ask the NDA government at the Centre to confer India's highest civilian award on Savarkar and social reformers Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, at a press conference in Mumbai last week, had said, "We are not against Savarkar ji, but we are not in favour of the Hindutva ideology that Savarkar ji patronised and stood for either."
Singh had noted that Indira Gandhi as prime minister issued a postal stamp in Savarkar’s memory.
Earlier, opposition parties had launched a scathing attack over the demand for Bharat Ratna to Savarkar with the Congress saying that Savarkar, though acquitted later, had faced criminal trial in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.