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Does he have stature to talk about Savarkar?: Raj Thackeray slams Rahul Gandhi

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Mumbai, Nov 27: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray on Sunday hit out at Rahul Gandhi for speaking against VD Savarkar and asked if the Congress leader has the "stature" to talk ill about the Hindutva ideologue.

Raj Thackeray

''Does Rahul Gandhi have the stature to talk ill about Savarkar who was sentenced to 50 years of rigorous imprisonment? There is something called strategy to come out of prison. How can it be termed as surrender or mercy? Raj Thackeray asked.

'The BJP has been maligning Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and this should stop. There are important issues facing the country which should be addressed to. You will not benefit by criticising national heroes who had fought for Independence. Everyone has positive and negative aspects. There is no need to highlight the negative side now,'' the MNS chief said.

Rahul Gandhi kicked up controversy claiming the late Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar helped the British rulers and wrote a mercy petition to them out of fear.

"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 that 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.

Gandhi, Nehru, Patel remained in jail for years, but none of them signed any such letter, he said.

"A copy of this (Savarkar's) letter should be sent to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat. If (BJP leader) Devendra Fadnavis wants to see it, he can also see," Gandhi added.

Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, whose Shiv Sena faction is in alliance with the Congress, distanced himself from Rahul Gandhi's statement.

"We have immense respect and faith for Swatyantra Veer Savarkar and it cannot be erased..." said Uddhav Thackeray.

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