Senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain on Sunday night said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had "insulted" his grandmother and late prime minister Indira Gandhi by his utterances on V D Savarkar. He also said the country will never forgive Rahul Gandhi for the remarks even if he wants to apologise. Hussain was speaking at the Savarkar memorial in Shivaji Park in Dadar on the occasion of the culmination of the Mumbai BJP's march from suburban Borivali.
Many BJP leaders, including city unit BJP chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha, joined the march which began from the western suburb of Borivali, which is 28 kms away from Dadar, at 4 pm.
"By his comments on Savarkar, Rahul Gandhi has insulted his own grandmother who had hailed the contribution of Savarkar in the freedom struggle," Hussain said.
Even if Rahul Gandhi wants to apologise for his remarks, the country will never forgive him, the former Union minister added.
Rahul Gandhi had triggered a political storm by saying that his name was Rahul Gandhi, not "Rahul Savarkar", and he will never apologise for speaking the truth.
He had made the remarks at a rally in Delhi on Saturday while rejecting the BJP's demand for an apology over his "rape in India" barb.
BJP MPs Gopal Shetty and Manoj Kotak, Borivali MLA Sunil Rane and scores of the party workers joined the march.
They raised slogans criticizing Gandhi and hailing Savarkar.
Earlier in the day, Hussain told reporters at the BJP office here that Indira Gandhi had hailed the legacy of Savarkar.
"Indira Gandhi's government had issued a commemorative stamp on Savarkar in 1970. Gandhi had even donated Rs 11000 from her personal account to Savarkar Trust. She had also asked the Films Division to produce a documentary film on Savarkar which she personally cleared in 1983," he said.
He also mentioned a letter of Gandhi in 1980 commemorating the birth centenary celebrations of Savarkar.
"Gandhi had described Savarkar as a remarkable son of India and said his daring defiance of the British government has it's own important place in the annals of our freedom movement," Hussain claimed.
The BJP spokesperson had also asked BJP's former ally Shiv Sena, which heads a coalition government comprising the Congress and the NCP in Maharashtra, to choose between power and the freedom fighter.
"Just tweeting a protest against Gandhi's insult of Savarkar will not do. (Shiv Sena president) Uddhav Thackeray has to take a stand on whether he wants to share power with the Congress which has insulted the national icon and freedom fighter," he said.
The Sena had voted in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in the Lok Sabha.
However, the party leader staged a walkout when the bill was taken up for voting in the Rajya Sabha, apparently after displeasure expressed by the ally Congress over its previous stand.
The amended citizenship act paves the way for granting Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have migrated after facing religious persecution in their respective country.