Congress` boycott of Sarvarkar functions `unfortunate`: Advani
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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 00:04
  
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.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 00:04


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