The Congress has hit out at the BJP after the party's Maharashtra unit propped VD Savarkar's name for the country's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
On Tuesday, the Congress said that if the government considers it on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, then "God save this country".
The CPI also attacked the ruling party, saying the day may not be far when the BJP demands Bharat Ratna for Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse.
"This is the biggest irony of our times that while we are all celebrating the birth centenary of Gandhi ji, the BJP is seeking Bharat Ratna for Savarkar, who was an accused in his assassination case," CPI general secretary D Raja said in Mumbai.
"The day may not be far for BJP to demand Bharat Ratna for Gandhiji''s assassin Nathuram Godse. This is part of their agenda," the CPI leader said.
The manifesto for Maharashtra assembly elections, scheduled for October 21, said the party will ask the NDA government at the Centre to confer India's highest civilian award on VD Savarkar and social reformers Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule.
Opposition parties launched a strong attack over the demand of Bharat Ratna for VD Savarkar with the Congress saying that VD Savarkar had faced criminal trial in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, even though he was later acquitted.
"In a country where Mahatma Gandhi is being made to commit suicide in examinations, anything is possible," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said at a press conference, referring to the row over a question in the internal assessment examination of some schools in Gujarat.
Mr Tiwari also cited a media report that claimed that the Kapur Commission, formed in 1966 to look into the conspiracy to murder Gandhi, also concluded that facts pointed towards a "conspiracy to murder (Gandhi) by Savarkar and his group".
"If on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, this government considers any such thing (giving Bharat Ratna to VD Savarkar), than all I want to say is that God save this country," the Congress spokesperson said.
Asked if there was a contradiction between the recent praise for Mahatma Gandhi by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and the demand for Bharat Ratna for VD Savarkar, Mr Tewari alleged that it was a coordinated and well thought out strategy "that on one hand keep praising Mahatma Gandhi and on the other hand make such a demand".
"But if what has been written in the article about the conclusions of the Kapur Commission is correct, then the government should seriously think that on Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary, is this step appropriate," he said.
Countering the Congress attack, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said it is a "statement of intent" from the BJP as all great sons and daughters of the nation should be recognised for their contribution to its independence.
"The Congress in its rule has ensured that only one family got the credit", he alleged.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asadduddin Owaisi also slammed the demand as he took to Twitter to criticise Savarkar.
Tagging a media report on Maharashtra BJP's demand of Bharat Ratna for VD Savarkar, Mr Owaisi said on Twitter, "Some gyaan about this Anmol Ratan: 1. Implicated by Jeevan Lal Commission of Inquiry on Gandhi's assassination. 2. Advocated the use of rape as a political tool. 3. Criticised Shivaji for not using rape as a political tool. 4. Called himself the British's ''most obedient servant''."
Many BJP leaders look up to VD Savarkar for inspiration although he was a member of the Hindu Mahasabha and not the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the BJP.
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