Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday demanded an "unconditional apology" from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his ''My name is not Rahul Savarkar'' remark.
Talking to reporters in Nagpur, Mr Fadnavis also announced that the BJP would boycott the customary tea party to be hosted by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday, on the eve of the winter session of the state Assembly.
"Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should tender an unconditional apology over his remarks on Savarkar. He does not seem to have studied India's history of the Independence movement," Mr Fadnavis said.
Addressing the Congress's mega ''Bharat Bachao Rally'' in Delhi on Saturday, Rahul Gandhi rejected the BJP's demand for apology over his "rape in India" barb, and added that his name was Rahul Gandhi, not "Rahul Savarkar", and he will never apologise for speaking the truth.
Mr Fadnavis also took a dig at the Shiv Sena over its Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut's remark that his party respects Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress should not insult Savarkar.
"The Shiv Sena seems to be indulging in some kind of trade with the Congress by respecting Nehru and Gandhi. The Sena is helpless for power in Maharashtra," the former chief minister said.
The Sena last month forged an alliance with the Congress and NCP to form the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.
Reacting to Rahul Gandhi's remark mentioning Savarkar, Mr Raut on Saturday said there could not be any "compromise" about reverence for the Hindutva ideologue.
"Veer Savarkar is a god ("daivat") of the whole country and not just Maharashtra. The name Savarkar denotes national pride and self-respect. Like Nehru and Gandhi, Savarkar too dedicated his life to the country. Every such god must be revered. There is no compromise on this," Mr Raut tweeted.
"We respect Gandhi and Nehru. You should not insult Savarkar. Enough said," he had said in another tweet.
Meanwhile, Mr Fadnavis said the BJP would boycott the customary tea party to be hosted by the MVA government on Sunday evening ahead of the state Assembly's winter session.
"We cannot sit and have tea with those who insult Savarkar. Besides, there is also no clarity on whether there are any ministers in the Thackeray-led government and how much authority they have," he said.
"We will also use parliamentary tools to counter the government on the issue of Savarkar as well as other issues concerning Maharashtra," Mr Fadnavis said.
The winter session of the state legislature will begin in Nagpur on Monday and conclude on December 21.