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Amid alliance talks with political rivals in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena reiterates demand for conferring Bharat Ratna on Savarkar

FE Online

The Shiv Sena has reiterated its demand to confer Bharat Ratna on Veer Savarkar. Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday said that his party is still with the demand to confer the country’s highest civilian award on the Sangh Parivar ideologue.

"We have always supported Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar. We stand on the demand," Raut replied to a question.

The remark from Shiv Sena on the matter comes amid a logjam over the formation of government in Maharashtra. The Sena is currently holding talks with political rivals NCP and Congress to form an alliance to gain majority in the Legislative Assembly to gain the majority. The Congress has been openly critical of the Hindutva icon.

The issue had even figured ahead of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra last month. Both the BJP and Shiv Sena leaders in public rallies raked up the demand for awarding the Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar. The BJP in its manifesto even promised to confer Bharat Ratna on Savarkar if returns to power. The Shiv Sena said that Pakistan would not have been created if Savarkar had become the Prime Minister.

The Congress which appeared vehement in its opposition in past, however, fielded former PM Manmohan Singh clear the party’s stand on the matter. Singh stated that the Congress is not against Savarkar, but it opposes Savarkar’s Hindutva ideology.

Meanwhile, the Modi government on Tuesday avoided a direct reply on whether it has taken steps to confer Bharat Ratna on Veer Savarkar. MoS for Home Nityanand Rai told Lok Sabha that recommendations for the country’s highest civilian award are received regularly from various quarters.

"However, no formal recommendation for conferment of Bharat Ratna is necessary. The decisions regarding  Bharat Ratna are taken from time to time," he said in a written reply to a question of BJP MP from Maharashtra Gopal Chinayya Shetty.