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MVA Shows Strength in Violence-Hit Aurangabad: Is Savarkar Row Buried for Good?

The MVA collectively pushed back on the 'anti-Savarkar' attacks that the BJP was subjecting it to in the past week.

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"In 1988, Shiv Sena Pramukh (Balasaheb Thackeray) had promised that Aurangabad will be renamed as Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar, I am glad that it happened under the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) rule," said former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray at a massive rally in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar (previously Aurangabad) on Sunday, 2 April.

Thackeray was addressing a gathering as a part of the MVA's show of strength termed in the presence of several MVA leaders including Congress leaders Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aditya Thackeray, among others.

The rally came on the heels of the recent communal violence in the city on Ram Navami, that claimed the life of one civilian and injured several others.

The MVA collectively pushed back on the 'anti-Savarkar' attacks that the BJP was subjecting it to in the past week.

MVA leaders at the 'Vajramuth' rally in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar (Aurangabad) on 2 April.

(Photo: Twitter/Shiv Sena (UBT))

Just a kilometer away, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Eknath-Shinde-led Shiv Sena organised the 'Savarkar Gaurav Yatra', that aims to highlight the contributions of VD Savarkar, a movement that chief minister Eknath Shinde had announced last week as a counter to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's recent jibe at the controversial freedom fighter.

As the MVA leaders, including Uddhav, highlighted the achievements of their tenure while targeting PM Narendra Modi, Devendra Fadnavis, and Shinde over several issues, the MVA collectively pushed back against the 'anti-Savarkar' attacks that the BJP was subjecting it to in the past week.

MVA Shows Strength in Violence-Hit Aurangabad: Is Savarkar Row Buried for Good?

  1. 1. Congress' 'Touch-and-Go' on Savarkar

    A day after Gandhi, following his disqualification from the Lok Sabha, said that he was 'not Savarkar to apologise', the ripples were felt in Maharashtra with Uddhav himself condemning the comments in the strongest terms. His party also refused to attend a joint Opposition meet called by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge. The state BJP upped the ante and cornered Uddhav with Shinde and Fadnavis conducting a joint press conference to question him and his continuation with the MVA despite 'Congress' repeated insults of Savarkar'.

    While the Shinde-BJP alliance did manage to corner Uddhav over the matter last week, the MVA, in the recent rally managed to push back.

    The Congress, while merely touching the topic, said that it 'respects all leaders of the state who belonged to the freedom movement.'

    The MVA collectively pushed back on the 'anti-Savarkar' attacks that the BJP was subjecting it to in the past week.

    Congress leader Ashok Chavan at the MVA rally in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar on 2 April.

    (Photo: Twitter/Ashok Chavan)

    "There are 'gaurav yatras' being carried out across the state to deflect from the real issues. I respect all leaders from Maharashtra," said Congress leader and former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan.
    Expand
  2. 2. 'Why No Bharat Ratna Yet?': Pawar, Uddhav Up the Ante 

    Contrary to the Congress' 'touch-and-go' approach, Pawar and Uddhav went all guns blazing against the Shinde-BJP alliance over the matter.

    "There is a lot being spoken about the 'gaurav yatras'. The people have seen how the former governor (Bhagat Singh Koshyari) had insulted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Jyotiba Phule, and Savitribai Phule. There is no doubt that all the leaders contributed to the freedom movement. There were comments made against Savarkar recently (by Rahul Gandhi), but the issues were settled after senior leaders intervened. As the MVA rally was planned today here, they deliberately planned the 'gaurav yatra' nearby in the presence of two union ministers and one state minister. We don't oppose the yatra but you are resorting to two-faced politics," Pawar alleged, asking why were such rallies not taken out against Koshyari.

    The MVA collectively pushed back on the 'anti-Savarkar' attacks that the BJP was subjecting it to in the past week.

    NCP leader Ajit Pawar at the MVA rally in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar on 2 April.

    (Photo: Twitter/NCP)

    "Your government is in the Centre and the state now. We are proud of Savarkar. If you are so proud, then why not confer him with Bharat Ratna? What's stopping you? All this is only being done to distract from the issues of unemployment and inflation," Pawar said.

    Thackeray targeted the BJP and Shinde over the yatras saying the sacred saffron (flag) doesn't look good in their hands.

    "Savarkar suffered rigorous imprisonment and hardships for the Independence of the country and not to make Modi the prime minister. Will you fulfil Savarkar's dream of 'akhand Bharat'?" Thackeray asked.

    The MVA collectively pushed back on the 'anti-Savarkar' attacks that the BJP was subjecting it to in the past week.

    Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray at the MVA rally in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar on 2 April.

    (Photo: Twitter/Shiv Sena (UBT))

    "The BJP and (Eknath) Shinde-led Shiv Sena should follow the ideals of Savarkar and Sardar Patel. Some time back, Amit Shah had asked BJP in Maharashtra to show Uddhav Thackeray his place. This is my place. But when will you show us the place in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK)?" he asked.
    Expand
  3. 3. An Issue Better for Headlines Than Votes

    The pushback by the MVA on the Savarkar narrative is strong, with the Sambhaji Nagar gaurav yatras having received lukewarm response, but the issue is something that's going to keep cropping up repeatedly for the MVA, specifically for Uddhav.

    With all the Hindutva rallies being carried out in the state, the 'Savarkar Gaurav Yatras' are likely to gain momentum soon, in a bid to keep targeting Uddhav over the matter and to keep the narrative of him 'giving up Hindutva' burning, senior political analyst Prakash Pawar said.

    "The NCP has always backed the contribution of Savarkar to nationalism and his contribution to the freedom struggle. Same is for the people of Maharashtra. The only bone of contention is his views on Hindutva. Even Prabodhankar Thackeray did not agree to his ideas of Hindutva, but Bal Thackeray was different," Prakash Pawar said, while explaining Uddhav's stand on the matter.

    "With their comments of Savarkar not being conferred with Bharat Ratna yet, Pawar and Uddhav are targeting the Savarkar sympathisers supporting the BJP and striking the right chord," he said.

    Political experts say that even if the BJP tries to rake up the Savarkar issue repeatedly, it won't translate into votes for either of the sides and hence there haven't really been any political attempts outside Maharashtra as well.

    With its carefully strategised pushback, the MVA for now has quelled the narrative led by the Shinde-BJP alliance. In the Opposition parties meet led by Kharge last week following the controversy, it was decided to not rake up issues like Savarkar when not necessary. If the strategy succeeds and the Opposition parties are careful enough to not fall prey to the BJP's tactics, the matter might not be of much political relevance in the run-up to the 2024 elections, Prakash Pawar said.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

Congress' 'Touch-and-Go' on Savarkar

A day after Gandhi, following his disqualification from the Lok Sabha, said that he was 'not Savarkar to apologise', the ripples were felt in Maharashtra with Uddhav himself condemning the comments in the strongest terms. His party also refused to attend a joint Opposition meet called by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge. The state BJP upped the ante and cornered Uddhav with Shinde and Fadnavis conducting a joint press conference to question him and his continuation with the MVA despite 'Congress' repeated insults of Savarkar'.

While the Shinde-BJP alliance did manage to corner Uddhav over the matter last week, the MVA, in the recent rally managed to push back.

The Congress, while merely touching the topic, said that it 'respects all leaders of the state who belonged to the freedom movement.'

The MVA collectively pushed back on the 'anti-Savarkar' attacks that the BJP was subjecting it to in the past week.

Congress leader Ashok Chavan at the MVA rally in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar on 2 April.

(Photo: Twitter/Ashok Chavan)

"There are 'gaurav yatras' being carried out across the state to deflect from the real issues. I respect all leaders from Maharashtra," said Congress leader and former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan.
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'Why No Bharat Ratna Yet?': Pawar, Uddhav Up the Ante 

Contrary to the Congress' 'touch-and-go' approach, Pawar and Uddhav went all guns blazing against the Shinde-BJP alliance over the matter.

"There is a lot being spoken about the 'gaurav yatras'. The people have seen how the former governor (Bhagat Singh Koshyari) had insulted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Jyotiba Phule, and Savitribai Phule. There is no doubt that all the leaders contributed to the freedom movement. There were comments made against Savarkar recently (by Rahul Gandhi), but the issues were settled after senior leaders intervened. As the MVA rally was planned today here, they deliberately planned the 'gaurav yatra' nearby in the presence of two union ministers and one state minister. We don't oppose the yatra but you are resorting to two-faced politics," Pawar alleged, asking why were such rallies not taken out against Koshyari.

The MVA collectively pushed back on the 'anti-Savarkar' attacks that the BJP was subjecting it to in the past week.

NCP leader Ajit Pawar at the MVA rally in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar on 2 April.

(Photo: Twitter/NCP)

"Your government is in the Centre and the state now. We are proud of Savarkar. If you are so proud, then why not confer him with Bharat Ratna? What's stopping you? All this is only being done to distract from the issues of unemployment and inflation," Pawar said.

Thackeray targeted the BJP and Shinde over the yatras saying the sacred saffron (flag) doesn't look good in their hands.

"Savarkar suffered rigorous imprisonment and hardships for the Independence of the country and not to make Modi the prime minister. Will you fulfil Savarkar's dream of 'akhand Bharat'?" Thackeray asked.

The MVA collectively pushed back on the 'anti-Savarkar' attacks that the BJP was subjecting it to in the past week.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray at the MVA rally in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar on 2 April.

(Photo: Twitter/Shiv Sena (UBT))

"The BJP and (Eknath) Shinde-led Shiv Sena should follow the ideals of Savarkar and Sardar Patel. Some time back, Amit Shah had asked BJP in Maharashtra to show Uddhav Thackeray his place. This is my place. But when will you show us the place in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK)?" he asked.
0

An Issue Better for Headlines Than Votes

The pushback by the MVA on the Savarkar narrative is strong, with the Sambhaji Nagar gaurav yatras having received lukewarm response, but the issue is something that's going to keep cropping up repeatedly for the MVA, specifically for Uddhav.

With all the Hindutva rallies being carried out in the state, the 'Savarkar Gaurav Yatras' are likely to gain momentum soon, in a bid to keep targeting Uddhav over the matter and to keep the narrative of him 'giving up Hindutva' burning, senior political analyst Prakash Pawar said.

"The NCP has always backed the contribution of Savarkar to nationalism and his contribution to the freedom struggle. Same is for the people of Maharashtra. The only bone of contention is his views on Hindutva. Even Prabodhankar Thackeray did not agree to his ideas of Hindutva, but Bal Thackeray was different," Prakash Pawar said, while explaining Uddhav's stand on the matter.

"With their comments of Savarkar not being conferred with Bharat Ratna yet, Pawar and Uddhav are targeting the Savarkar sympathisers supporting the BJP and striking the right chord," he said.

Political experts say that even if the BJP tries to rake up the Savarkar issue repeatedly, it won't translate into votes for either of the sides and hence there haven't really been any political attempts outside Maharashtra as well.

With its carefully strategised pushback, the MVA for now has quelled the narrative led by the Shinde-BJP alliance. In the Opposition parties meet led by Kharge last week following the controversy, it was decided to not rake up issues like Savarkar when not necessary. If the strategy succeeds and the Opposition parties are careful enough to not fall prey to the BJP's tactics, the matter might not be of much political relevance in the run-up to the 2024 elections, Prakash Pawar said.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Veer Savarkar   Savarkar   VD Savarkar 

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