Sanjay Raut, leader of Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction, today tweeted that Rahul Gandhi called him and asked about his health, amid a row over the Congress leader’s comments attacking Vir Savarkar.
“Rahul called me at night even though he was busy with India Jodh Yatra. He asked about my health, said ‘we were worried about you’. It is only human to feel sorry for a political ally framed in a false case and tortured for 110 days in jail,” Sanjay Raut tweeted in Marathi.
He followed it up with a long post in English.
– Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) November 21, 2022
“Despite sharp differences of opinion on some issues, it is a sign of humanity to ask your political colleagues…In times of political bitterness, such gestures are becoming rare. RahulG His journey focuses on love and compassion and hence it is getting a massive response,” Mr Raut wrote.
Rahul Gandhi’s gesture and public praise of the Sena leader signaled a patch-up after Tim Thackeray warned that his comments about Vir Savarkar – a Hindutva icon – could affect their Maharashtra alliance.
Last week, Rahul Gandhi, who is in Maharashtra for his Bharat Joro Yatra, criticized Vir Savarkar for seeking mercy from the British while he was in jail. He also appealed to the British and accused leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel of betrayal.
The comment targeting an icon revered in Maharashtra has angered both Shiv Sena factions.
Uddhav Thackeray said his party had “great respect” for Savarkar and Sanjay Raut told NDTV: “The issue of Savarkar is important to us and we believe in his ideals. They (Congress) should not have raised this issue.”
Another party leader went a step further and issued a clear warning. “Sanjay Raut has given a statement that we cannot continue with the MVA (in the Maha Vikas Aghadi Alliance). This is a serious reaction from the party,” Sena MP Arvind Sawant said on Friday, suggesting Uddhav Thackeray would “make a statement” soon.
In an attempt at damage control, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said Rahul Gandhi had only told historical truth. “I have spoken to Sanjay Raut today. We agree to disagree. He has rejected the idea that it will weaken the Maha Vikas Aghadi. It will not affect the MVA,” he said on Friday.