Mumbai, Mar 28: Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray today demanded Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar to "shut up the Congress permanently" over the revolutionary leader being targeted by the Opposition party recently.
Uddhav, in a statement here, asked the BJP-led Government at the Centre to present the top civilian honour to Savarkar, a revered figure in Maharashtra.
Separately, a Sena leader said the issue would be raised by the party in the Maharashtra Assembly tomorrow. Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, taking part in a debate in the Lok Sabha earlier this month, had said while BJP runs on ideals of Savarkar, his party follows the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi.
The Opposition party again targeted Savarkar last week when it tweeted that "Bhagat Singh waged war for Freedom from British Raj, V D Savarkar begged for mercy, to be a slave in British Raj." BJP had asked Congress to apologise or face protest.
Joining the issue, Uddhav said there will be no need to organise protests if the NDA Government awards Bharat Ratna to the right-wing ideologue. "The Modi Government should bestow the award on Savarkar. Shiv Sena has raised this issue several times in the past.
We are still fighting for Savarkar, but BJP is keeping distance from Shiv Sena over the issue," Uddhav said.
"The Congress has insulted not only Veer Savarkar, but all other revolutionaries. The Government must immediately announce Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar and shut up the Congress permanently," he added.
The Uddhav-led party, a key ally of BJP, will raise the issue in Assembly and push for Bharat Ratna demand. "We will ask the Government (in Maharashtra) to recommend to the Centre to bestow Bharat Ratna on Savarkar.
BJP is in power both at the Centre and in the State and it can take a decision," said Pratap Sarnaik, a Shiv Sena legislator. "We will not allow the House to function till we get a firm assurance from the Chief Minister," he said.