The Wall Bureau: Rahul Gandhi’s comments on freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar are causing an uproar in Maharashtra politics. Except the Congress, all the main parties have criticized Rahul more or less. In order to manage the situation, the top Congress leadership has endeavored to maintain the alliance with Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena in Maharashtra besides protecting Rahul’s standards. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh held a long meeting with Uddhav group leader Sanjay Raut. As a result, both parties feel that the possibility of breaking the alliance has been avoided for the time being.

However, the biggest relief to Congress and Rahul was the presence of Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi (Tushar Gandhi Supports Rahul Gandhi) on Friday. In the midst of Savarkar Controversy, Tushar joined Rahul in Maharashtra on a trip to India. In a rally on this occasion, he said, ‘Narendra Modi hides the poverty of slums with clothes. On the other hand, Rahul is embracing the helpless people of the slums.

Tushar also said, ‘A true leader has the ability to feel the suffering of the poor. Bapu felt the suffering of the poor. I saw the same while walking with Rahul Gandhi today.’ I never imagined that I would have such an experience in my life.’ The Congress feels that Tushar Gandhi’s statement has shed some water on the Savarkar controversy.

Rahul Gandhi also said on Friday, ‘RSS-BJP leaders who are questioning the need for Bharat Joro Yatra can walk with common people for five minutes and get the answer to what people are saying.’

At the Shegaon rally in Maharashtra, Rahul also said, ‘There is panic everywhere. Fear because of the politics of hate, fear because of an uncertain future. Youth are in fear due to unemployment. Farmers are worried because they are not getting the right price. And the atmosphere of fear is being used by the RSS-BJP to sustain their politics of hatred.’

Rahul’s journey has crossed two thousand kilometers just yesterday. This journey started from Kanyakumari on September 7.

Rahul said, ‘For the last two months, I have been hearing only one thing from the mouths of farmers, they are not getting the price of their crops. Farmers came to me and asked the government why they have to commit suicide for a debt of 50 thousand, 1 lakh rupees, when the government is giving thousands of crores of concessions to corporate companies! Addressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi without naming the name, the Congress leader said, ‘Now is not the time to talk about what you think. The government should listen to the countrymen.

Last day, Rahul commented about freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, ‘Savarkar wrote a letter begging for forgiveness to the British rulers to be released from the cellular jail. He betrayed the countrymen, the freedom fighters. He used to help the British.’

With these words of Rahul, there has been a stir in the politics of Maharashtra. Though Hindutva leader Savarkar is an RSS-BJP icon, he is a revered figure in Maharashtra. Congress ally Shiv Sena (Uddhav group) issued a counter statement publicly refuting the Congress leader’s statement as Rahul condemned such a freedom fighter. Sanjay Raut, the leader of the Uddhav group, warned that if Rahul does not withdraw his comments, the alliance may break up.

Jairam Ramesh of Congress spoke to him privately last night. After the meeting, Ramesh claimed that the alliance will remain as it is. In the meeting we both agreed to stand firm in our positions. In Ramesh’s words, ‘Rahul has told the historical truth. Historians have spoken. As a result, the question of withdrawing the comment does not arise.

Rahul, however, suppressed Savarkar’s controversy and referred more to other thinkers in his speech yesterday. He said, ‘Bharat Joro Yatra is carrying the same message as sent by the sages of Maharashtra. Shivaji Maharaj, Jyotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule, Sahuji Maharaj, Ambedkar, Holkar, Gadage Maharaj, Gnaneshwar Maharaj, Shirdi Saibab, the list is endless. Maharashtra is the land of reformers. These great men did not teach us to spread hatred. They all taught us love and unity.’ On the other hand, ‘Savarkar propagated a narrow political agenda which taught Muslims to alienate’, said the Congress leader in a speech earlier in the day.

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