A day after the BJP slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for being silent on the Congress's criticism of VD Savarkar, the Shiv Sena on Monday hit back, and asked why the BJP has not yet given Bharat Ratna the leader.
The Congress is Shiv Sena's ally in the state's ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi, which also includes the NCP as a partner.
Talking to reporters, Shiv Sena's chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut reiterated that Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, be given to the "great and Hindutvavadi leader" Savarkar.
During the Shiv Sena's annual Dussehra rally on Sunday, party chief Uddhav Thackeray delivered his speech at the Savarkar hall in Mumbai instead of Shivaji Park.
Later, state BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye accused the ruling party of compromising on Hindutva for power.
"Uddhav Thackeray did not say a word about the Congress criticising Savarkar and now he had to address the Dussehra rally from the Savarkar auditorium. This is poetic justice," Mr Updhaye further said.
Reacting to the comments, Mr Raut on Monday said the Shiv Sena has "never kept quiet on the issues relating to Savarkar and it will never do so".
Without naming the BJP, Mr Raut said the party should browse through history to know the Shiv Sena's stand on issues involving Savarkar.
"Veer Savarkar has always been the mentor of the Shiv Sena and Hindutva. Those who are raising questions on us...why are they not giving the Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar?" the Rajya Sabha member asked.
"You have given it to many people during the past six-seven years. What are the difficulties before you in giving the Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar?" Mr Raut sought to know.
The Shiv Sena parted ways with long-term ally BJP after the Maharashtra Assembly elections last year following differences over the issue of sharing of the chief ministerial post on a rotational basis.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party later formed the government in the state in alliance with the ideologically different NCP and the Congress, which has been a bitter critic of Savarkar.