Congress` boycott of Sarvarkar functions `unfortunate`: Advani

BJP leader said that this was a recent phenomenon as Indira Gandhi and her contemporary party leaders respected the patriot. Programme was held in Parliament on May 28 to mark Veer Savarkar`s 129th birth anniversary.

New Delhi: Describing Congress` boycott
of all functions related to freedom fighter Veer Savarkar as
"singularly unfortunate", senior BJP leader LK Advani on Monday
said that this was a recent phenomenon as Indira Gandhi and
her contemporary party leaders respected the patriot.

Recalling the programme in Parliament on last Saturday
(May 28) to mark Savarkar`s 129th birth anniversary, Advani
said only Speaker Meira Kumar from the Congress was present.

"Since February 2003, when Swatantraveer Savarkar`s
portrait was first put up in the Central Hall (of Parliament)
and formally unveiled by the then President Abdul Kalam, the
Congress Party has been boycotting all functions relating to
this portrait including the first function involving the
President himself," Advani wrote on his blog.

"This is singularly unfortunate, and I would like to
urge the Congress Party to reconsider its stand," he added.

Savarkar, a right-wing leader, is considered as a BJP
ideologue. Hence, Congress and other parties have usually
distanced themselves from programmes related to him.

In 1966, when Savarkar died Indira Gandhi paid him
rich tributes and called him a great figure of contemporary
India whose "name was a by-word for daring and patriotism",
Advani said.

The senior BJP leader quoted Gandhi as saying Savarkar
was a "classic revolutionary" who inspired several people.
Advani maintained that earlier Congress leaders used
to attend programmes related to Savarkar.

"I recall whenever there was a function in the NDA
days relating to Savarkar, Vasant Sathe (Congress) was
invariably present. He told me that during his tenure as I&B
Minister a documentary on Savarkar was planned and some people
raised objections. On Gandhi`s advice, he brushed aside those
objections and the documentary was made," Advani said.

Advani also stated on his blog that people should not
abuse one leader in their attempt to praise his political
adversary. He gave the example of Jabbar Patel, the director
of a movie on BR Ambedkar, in which he had shown Mahatma
Gandhi as a "hypocrite".

"My plea to him (Patel) was, in order to project
Ambedkar`s greatness was it at all necessary to project Gandhi
as a `hypocrite`? After all, for millions in the country both
are icons. Why not stress the positive attributes of both?"
Advani remarked.

He praised the movie `Gandhi, my Father` which deals
fairly with both Gandhi and his estranged son Harilal.

"The play (`Mahatma versus Gandhi` which was later
made into the movie) did it so wonderfully that the audiences
were touched by the fair and sympathetic treatment of the
plot," the senior BJP leader said.


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