Cautioning Congress leader Rahul Gandhi not to insult Vinayak Savarkar, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday warned that demeaning Savarkar would create "cracks" in the opposition alliance.
Uddhav Thackeray further said that he considers Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar as his idol and asked the Congress leader to refrain from insulting him.
"Savarkar suffered unimaginable torture in the Andaman cellular jail for 14 years. We can only read the sufferings. It is a form of sacrifice. We will not tolerate the insult of Savarkar," Uddhav Thackeray said.
He further said that there would be 'cracks' in the opposition alliance if Rahul Gandhi continues to 'demean' Savarkar.
"Veer Savarkar is our God, and any disrespect towards him will not be tolerated. We are prepared to fight, but insulting our Gods is not something we will tolerate," the Shiv Sena (UBT) chief said.
"The alliance of the Uddhav faction, Congress and NCP was made to protect democracy and we need to work unitedly. Rahul Gandhi is being provoked deliberately but if we waste time in this, democracy will cease to exist," Uddhav Thackeray said while addressing a rally in Malegaon.
Uddhav Thacleray was referring to Rahul Gandhi's recent statement where he said that he is not Savarkar.
"My name is not Savarkar, my name is Gandhi and Gandhi does not offer an apology to anyone," Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday in a press conference following his disqualification as an MP after conviction in defamation case.
Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Member of Parliament following the Surat court order convicting him in a criminal defamation case over his 'Modi surname' remark.
Uddhav Thackeray, whose Sena faction is an ally of Congress and the NCP in the state, however, urged Rahul Gandhi to not get provoked and to come together to "save India's democracy".
Uddhav Thackeray came down heavily on the BJP argument over Rahul Gandhi's remark against PM Narendra Modi, saying that PM Narendra Modi is not India.
"Modi is not India. Did our freedom fighters lay down their lives for this? Questioning Modi is not about insulting India," he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)