Prasad justified the highest civilian honour for Savarkar and said that he was a patriot who spent 11 years of his life in the Andaman jail.
Mumbai: Union law minister Ravishankar Prasad Wednesday justified the demand for Bharat Ratna for Vinayak Damodar Savarkar raised by the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its election manifesto, and attacked the Congress for opposing awarding the highest civilian honour to such rashtra bhaktas (patriots).
Addressing a press conference here in Maharashtra, he accused the Congress of ensuring that only members of the family (read: Gandhi family) were conferred the highest civilian honour. “Why is the Congress troubled by the BJP’s demand for Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar in its manifesto? The Congress has always gathered 'Bharat Ratna' among the family only (sic),” Mr Prasad said.
The state BJP released its manifesto for the October 21 Assembly elections Tuesday and raised the demand for Bharat Ratna for the Hindutva icon along with 19th century social reformists, Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule. Reacting to the state BJP’s demand, the Congress said, “If the BJP government is considering the Bharat Ratna demand, then God save this country.”
Mr Prasad justified the highest civilian honour for Savarkar and said that he was a patriot who spent 11 years of his life in the Andaman jail. “Savarkar never asked for anything in return from the country,” he said.
“Veer Savarkar, as V.D. Savarkar is popularly known, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Ph-ule have given so much to the society. Such nationalists should certainly get Bharat Ratnas,” he asse-rted.
The Union minister even alleged that the Congress did not bestow the Bharat Ratna on “Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of the country, and dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar, earlier. “Both these leaders were given the highest civilian honour (posthumously) when Narasimha Rao, who didn’t belong to the family, was prime minister of the country,” he said.