Savarkar helped British, wrote mercy petitions: Rahul Gandhi

His comments came after Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray said he does not agree with Gandhi's views on Savarkar.

Akola: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar helped the British, adding that he wrote a mercy petition to the then rulers.

Addressing a press conference, Gandhi showed a paper to the media persons, claiming it was 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,” Gandhi said at the media interaction during his Bharat Jodo Yatra foot march which is in the last leg in Maharashtra.

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His comments came after Shiv Sena leader 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.

Gandhi said he was of the view that Savarkar signed the letter out of fear and in doing so, betrayed Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Pandit Nehru and other leaders of the freedom struggle.

The Congress MP said the BJP has been spreading hatred, fear and violence in the country.

On the perception that the opposition has been unable to take on the BJP, Gandhi said that perception is superficial because the opposition doesn’t control institutions, media and judiciary.

“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 said.

To a question on Congress and opposition leaders “betraying the ideology” to join 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.

Asked if he is the Congress’ prime ministerial candidate for 2024 elections, Gandhi said such questions are meant to deflect attention from the yatra.

The yatra was conceptualised because India was internally fractured and in pain, he said.

Comparing the yatra to Mahatma Gandhi’s marches was wrong, he said.

To a query on the impact the yatra will have on the Congress, Gandhi said he is not a soothsayer and can’t predict what impact the foot march will have on his party.

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