Enraged at the ‘snub’ to freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar (Veer) Savarkar, ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis and other BJP leaders boycotted the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan on Saturday. Stating that Savarkar’s name was ‘missing’ from the literary event, Fadnavis pointed out that the Hindu idealogue was a poet, actor, journalist and historian. Fadnavis alleged that the current administration had insulted the RSS founder by refusing to name the event venue after him.
“Nashik is also the birthplace and workplace of the freedom fighters. He also presided over the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, Marathi Natya Sammelan and the Marathi Press Association and is probably the only one who got all these three honours. We respect Kusumagraj on whom the venue was named. But aren’t we reducing both leaders with their insistence on not naming them? Where our ideals are being insulted, then what even do we after going there?,” said Fadnavis to reporters in Nashik.
Controversy arose in the annual Marathi literary event in Nashik when there were some demands to name the venue of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan after Savarkar. The RSS leader was born at Bhagur near Nashik in 1883. However, the organisers refused to do so and named it ‘Kusumagraj Nagari’ after the famous Marathi poet – late V V Shirwadkar – who went by the pen-name Kusumagraj.
Sena has often clashed with its ideological polar opposite Congress since the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance over issues like Hindutva, CAA, NRC, Ram Janmabhoomi, Savarkar, COVID-19 etc, with NCP playing the peacemaker. Congress has often mocked the RSS leader referring to the mercy petition filed by Savarkar when jailed by the British in Andaman jail. Sena, on the other hand, has batted for a Bharat Ratna for Savarkar and has said those insulting Savarkar should be jailed.
Sena has been an dilemma since it stitched up the MVA alliance and agreed to a ‘secular’ Common Minimum Programme. The CMP states in its preamble that the alliance will take a joint view on matters which have consequences on the ‘secular fabric of the nation’. Amid multiple public spats between the allies, all three allies have maintained that the alliance is safe, but BJP has often asserted that the MVA govt will fall on its own.