Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hailed the teachings of Hindutva leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar amid the rising demand for Bharat Ratna to him by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Addressing an election rally in Maharashtra's Akola district, Modi said that Savarkar's "sanskar" were the basis of nation-building."It is due to Savarkar's sanskar (values) that we put nationalism as the basis for nation-building," Modi said. The prime minister also slammed the Congress party and rued that Savarkar and Babasaheb Ambedkar were denied the Bharat Ratna by the Congress party.
The remarks of the prime minister hailing Savarkar had come a day after Maharashtra BJP demanded the Bharat Ratna honour for Savarkar, one of the tallest Hindutva leaders of the Sangh Parivar, and included the it in its manifesto for the October 21 Assembly elections.
The manifesto says the BJP will ask the NDA government at the Centre to confer India's highest civilian award on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as Veer Savarkar. However, BJP's demand of Bharat Ratna for Savarkar met with severe criticism from the Opposition parties.
Slamming the BJP for their demand, Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary D Raja said the BJP may evenpropose the similar honour for Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse. "This is biggest irony of our times that while we areall celebrating the birth centenary of Gandhiji, the BJP isseeking Bharat Ratna to Savarkar, who was an accused in hisassassination case," Raja said.
Savarkar was one of the eight accused in the murder case of Mahatma Gandhi. However, He was acquitted by the court in the absence of evidence and Nathuram Godse, who shot Gandhi three times from a close range admitted his crime. Ironically, BJP MP from Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya, who is also facing trial in a terror case, had called Godse "a true patriot".