In another stinging assault on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel took a swipe at the saffron party and sought to who had accorded the title of “Veer” (brave) to Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
“Savarkar is called Veer and I wish to know who had conferred this title on him,” said Baghel at a function at the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) in Raipur on Thursday. “There were close to 500 others in prison when Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was jailed in ‘Kala Pani’ (in the Cellular Jail).
The BJP government, in its manifesto ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections, had promised to put forth a proposal to push Savarkar’s name for Bharat Ratna.
Baghel added that all prisoners, including Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose, had accepted he jail term and undergone immense torture but did not seek forgiveness from the British, unlike Savarkar.
Baghel said that some people now claim that the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, had no role to play in the integration of princely states into the Union of India.
Likening the situation to the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, Baghel said questions should be asked over whether the credit for revoking Kashmir’s special status should go to BJP President Amit Shah or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Whatever is done by the government, the credit goes to the head of the government but showing a big heart, Nehru had offered the entire credit to Sardar Patel, and Mahatma Gandhi also did the same,” said Baghel.
He said there is a section that seeks to measure the stature of great personalities these days and is doing that to Gandhi, Patel, Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose and compare them against one another. Baghel said that those who had nothing to contribute to the freedom movement and enjoyed power in connivance with the British were behind this.
Baghel said that Gandhi and Nehru had accorded Patel the title of ‘Sardar’ for his immense contributions towards the integration of princely states into India after independence. On similar lines, Rabindranath Tagore had conferred Gandhi with the title of ‘Mahatma’ and Bose had described him as ‘Bapu’ (father) and ‘Rashtra pita’ (father of the nation).
Baghel claimed that Patel, while banning the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had said the organisation was “not good” for the country — the ban was later revoked after the RSS apologised and promised to indulge in cultural activities.