The controversy over whether VD Savarkar should be accorded with Bharat Ratna has found resonance in Haryana. While the issue has been an emotive one in Maharashtra, owing to Savarkar's connection with the state, the BJP and Shiv Sena have been aggressively backing the move. In Haryana too, the BJP has tried to corner the opposition over the issue.
After Maharashtra, Veer Savarkar's name is also generating political heat in Haryana, which is also going to polls on October 21.
The BJP has gone full throttle in its attack to corner Congress and its senior leaders for their objections over party's promise to award Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar participation in independence struggle.
Agriculture Minister in Manohar Lal Khattar-led government in Haryana, OP Dhankar, while responding to Congress' objections on giving Bharat Ratna to Savarkar said, "Not even a single Congressman has gone to "kala pani". I want to ask Manmohan Singh ji did he know any Congressman given kala pani punishment? But Gandhiji plate was there. I asked at cellular prison whether Gandhi had been to kalapani? I was told he never came but one of his letters did.
He added, "Whereas Savarkar is a man who spent his life in kala pani, saw his brother and colleagues killed by hanging and yet Congress couldn't bear his plate to be put up in that prison. Congress can't tolerate anyone getting bigger than Gandhis and (Jawarharlal) Nehru and so (they) don't want to acknowledge anyone else's contribution in freedom movement," said Mr Dhankar while addressing a public meeting. He is contesting Assembly elections from Badli seat.
OP Dhankar, who had been the coordinator for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious project of State of Unity, said in Andaman there is a place where death penalty was given to 79 prisoners.
"Who are these 79 people? When Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose secured independence for Andaman and Nicobar and hoisted flag there. But they did not let it come out. What if Nehru's flag looks pale in front of his? And it was Manmohan government under whose rule Savarkar's plate was removed," said the BJP leader.
While addressing media in Mumbai, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said, "We are not against Savarkar, but the question is we are not in favour of the Hindutva ideology that Savarkar ji patronised and stood for."
The BJP has put former prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and his party in the dock over their objections of considering Veer Savarkar a martyr and a freedom fighter worthy of Bharat Ratna.
OP Dhankar isn't the only leader questioning Congress' role in not recognising the contribution made by those other than Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in the freedom movement.
Former union minister and Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh too had attacked the party he had been part of for more than three decades.
"Awarding Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar should be considered the initiative to bring in state of revivalism by BJP. We have a history of freedom movement. However , majority of the tallest leaders were deliberately kept out of it- Be it Lal Bahadur Shastri, Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel or Veer Savarkar, " said Mr Singh, who was campaigning for his wife Prem Lata, BJP''s candidate from Uchana Kalan constituency in Haryana.
Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and BJP's national vice president Shivraj Singh Chouhan also hit out at the Congress for discrediting freedom fighters from different ideologies.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said that Digvijaya Singh isn't even dust of Savarkar's feet after the Congress leader had claimed that Savarkar's name is registered among those who conspired against Mahatma Gandhi.