Savarkar helped British, sought mercy from them out of fear, claims Rahul

Actress Riya Sen joins Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Bharat Jodo Yatra in Akola on Thursday. (UNI)
Actress Riya Sen joins Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Bharat Jodo Yatra in Akola on Thursday. (UNI)

AKOLA, Nov 17:
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday continued to target late Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, saying that he helped the British rulers and wrote a mercy petition to them out of fear.
Gandhi also dared the Maharashtra Government to stop the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is currently passing through the state.
Addressing a press conference at Wadegaon in Akola district, Gandhi showed documents dating back to 1920 from the Government records to media persons, claiming that they contained a letter written by Savarkar to the British.
“I will read the last line, which says ‘I beg to remain your most obedient servant’ and is signed V D Savarkar, which shows he helped the British,” Gandhi said at the media interaction during his Bharat Jodo Yatra foot march which is in the last leg in Maharashtra.
He said he was of the view that Savarkar signed the letter out of fear and in doing so, he betrayed Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of the freedom struggle.
“If the government wants to stop the yatra, try and stop,” he dared.
His comments came after Shiv Sena leader and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said he does not agree with Gandhi’s views on Savarkar. Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis has also claimed that Gandhi has been “shamelessly lying” about Savarkar.
Addressing a rally in Washim district on Tuesday organised as part of his yatra, Gandhi called Savarkar a symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. “He was jailed in Andaman for two-three years. He started writing mercy petitions,” the Congress MP had said.
Lok Sabha member Rahul Shewale, who belongs to the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, had slammed Gandhi for his remarks and demanded that the Bharat Jodo Yatra be stopped in the state.
During the media interaction on Thursday, Gandhi also accused the BJP of spreading hatred, fear and violence.
“BJP doesn’t speak to farmers and youth…If people thought this yatra was not needed, lakhs of people would not have come out on the streets in support,” he said.
“The yatra has been a learning experience for me and helping me understand people,” he added.
On the perception that the opposition has been unable to take on the BJP, Gandhi said the perception is superficial because the opposition does not control institutions, media and judiciary.
“This is not a battle between two political parties. Institutions in the country create fairness on the battleground. If you go on the ground, you will understand what the people say.” he said.
”Showing compassion and affection even to your opponents are Indian values. The yatra is doing the same,” he said.
You can disagree with the views of your opponent by showing affection and love, he added.
To a question on the Congress and opposition leaders “betraying the ideology” to join the BJP before elections, Gandhi said this will cleanse the opposition.
Those who can sell themselves for money are joining BJP. There are clean people around and they will come to Congress, he said.
“I met a Shiv Sena MLA, who said he was offered Rs 50 crore to defect, but he didn’t do so. In a way, the opposition is being cleaned up…All corrupt people who can sell themselves for money are going to the BJP. There is no dearth of clean people who will come to the Congress,” he said.
Asked if he is the Congress’ prime ministerial candidate for 2024 elections, Gandhi said such questions are meant to deflect attention from the yatra. “I am not even thinking of this,” he said.
The yatra was conceptualised because India was internally fractured and in pain, the Congress leader added.
“The party is not weak in Maharashtra. There is a natural Congress in Maharashtra. The state is in the party’s DNA. There will be a positive impact of the yatra in Congress. I am not a soothsayer. I cannot predict the future,” he said. (PTI)