The leader of the NCP
, Sharad Pawar, has told the Gandhis (read: Rahul) that they should stop criticizing Vinayak Damodar Savarkar going forward. Sharad Pawar views himself as the mastermind of the self-serving MVA coalition and as a "sutradhar" of opposition unity. Monday night at a dinner given by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, Pawar brought up the subject during a meeting of opposition leaders.
It was noteworthy that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena had abstained from the gathering. Rahul reportedly received a warning from Pawar not to cross the line and criticize Savarkar, who is highly regarded in Maharashtra, as doing so would be detrimental to the MVA coalition in the state. Savarkar was never an RSS member, and Pawar also reminded the Gandhi scion that the alliance's actual battle is with the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Hence, calling the Hindutva ideology "mafi veer"—a veiled allusion to the "apology" Veer Savarkar allegedly made to get out of the feared "Kaala Paani," where he was imprisoned by the British—was not a good idea.
Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress
Party, appeared to concur with Pawar. As soon as Pawar has resolved the issues, MP Sanjay Raut and Kharge are likely to meet. Rahul was also the subject of Eknath Shinde's criticism on Monday for saying he wouldn't apologize because he was a Gandhi and not a Savarkar. Rahul cannot hope to become a Savarkar, Shinde retorted. You lack the zeal and the willingness to make a sacrifice. So how do you become one? Rahul should stay for one day in the jail, where Savarkar had stayed for 11 long years."