The booklet was distributed at a camp of Congress-affiliated Seva Dal in Madhya Pradesh (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Congress is facing criticism from both new-found ally Shiv Sena and archrival BJP over a booklet distributed at its affiliate Seva Dal's training camp in Bhopal. The booklet made controversial remarks about Veer Savarkar making insinuation about his relationship with Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse. A day after the story came to light, Shiv Sena and BJP trained their guns on Seva Dal's parent organisation Congress. Shiv Sena, who is part the Maharashtra government with it, said the Congress had "dirt" in their mind by questioning Savarkar's credentials as a patriot and his reputation for valour. BJP, on the other hand, described the comments as abhorrent and perverted.
The Hindi booklet, distributed at a camp of Congress-affiliated Seva Dal in Madhya Pradesh, had claimed that Veer Savarkar and Nathuram Godse were in a physical relationship. The booklet also alleged that Savarkar encouraged Hindu men to rape women from the minority community. It also claimed that Savarkar had received pension from the British and had apologised several times.
BJP also put pressure on Shiv Sena with former CM Devendra Fadnavis demanding that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ban the booklet.Fadnavis said the Congress had exhibited its "wicked" psyche by circulating such a booklet, which underscored its "intellectual bankruptcy".
He also sought to know from the Shiv Sena "which entered into unnatural alliance with such a bankrupt party" (the Congress) if it will repeatedly entertain insults to its "deity" Savarkar for the sake of power.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had slammed the booklet.
"Veer Savarkar was a great man and will remain a great man. A section keeps talking against him. This shows the dirt in their mind," Shiv Sena leader Sanajy Raut said, responding to the insinuations in the booklet, titled "Veer Savarkar, Kitne 'Veer'?"
BJP general secretary Anil Jain took a swipe at the Congress, saying "world knows various relationships of Congress leaders" but he does not want to throw such muck.
Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil said Congress should apologise for the "perverted" content in the booklet.
"The booklet contains lies and perverted content. The Congress should tender an apology for the same," Patil said.
Union minister Smriti Irani asked the Congress how long it would "insult the sacrifices" of Savarkar and said the opposition party will have to give an answer to the people of Maharashtra and all patriots in the country.
"The Congress, which is one of the ruling parties in Maharashtra, will have to answer the Marathi people and all patriots in the country how long will it continue to insult the sacrifice of Veer Savarkar," Irani said at the Delhi BJP office.
She also asked why does the Congress consider its "birthright to humiliate" Savarkar.
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, commonly known as Veer Savarkar, was an Indian independence activist, politician, lawyer, writer, and developed the core of his philosophy on the concept of Hindutva.