Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi got embroiled in yet another controversy after the picture of RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar appeared among other freedom fighters on a poster on Wednesday which was meant to welcome the Congress party leaders in Kerala.
The BJP after Savarkar’s picture went viral said that Savarkar’s “pictures adorning Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra banner is a good realisation for Rahul Gandhi.” However, Congress termed it as a printing mistake and said immediate action has been taken against the local leader while a detailed probe is being conducted.
BJP leader Amit Malviya said in a tweet “Veer Savarkar’s pictures adorn Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Ernakulum (near the airport). Although belated, good realisation for Rahul Gandhi, whose great grandfather Nehru, signed a mercy petition, pleaded the British to allow him to flee from Punjab’s Nabha jail in just two weeks,”.
The banner has Savarkar’s picture among photographs of other freedom fighters like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Gobind Ballabh Pant and Chandrashekhar Azad went viral on the internet.
Shehzad Poonawalla, BJP spokesperson “Rahul ji, no matter how much you try history and the truth comes out Savarkar was Veer! Those who hide are the “kaayars”.
Reacting to the faux pas, Congress alleged that the BJP-RSS person deliberately tampered with the banner and said that they will probe the matter.
After the embarrassment and criticism from the BJP, the party acted swiftly and the Savarkar picture was covered by a picture of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on the campaign poster for ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.
K Suresh, Congress MP and State Coordinator of Bharat Jodo Yatra said that the man who printed the banner may be a BJP-RSS person and did it deliberately. Congress workers will never ask for Savarkar’s photo on the banner. We will inquire. Our leadership took action and immediately suspended the local leader.
Calling it a “mistake, he further said that every Congress worker knows who is Savarkar.
Suspended local Congress leader, Suresh said, “For two weeks I was on work related to Bharat Jodo Yatra. The 88 feet long flex containing the pictures of the freedom fighters was given to be printed at around 9 pm last night. There were 22 pictures in it. Then the copy of the flex was sent to me for checking. But I didn’t check it well.”
He further claimed, “It was prepared by taking images taken after typing freedom fighters from the internet. I could not verify further. I didn’t notice. The fault lies with me. Someone took a photo or video of this flex when I put it. That’s how it got discussed on social media. I didn’t think this matter would be so serious.”
He further said that as soon as the faux pas came to light, it was covered with Mahatma Gandhi’s picture.
“When there was a problem, I used Gandhi’s picture and covered it. But on the instructions of the party leaders, the entire flex was removed. It was a flex which cost Rs 9000. I don’t mind that the party has taken action against me. Because I did the wrong thing. I am apologizing to the party and workers for the mistake due to my carelessness,” the suspended leader added.
Notably, Congress has always criticised Savarkar, claiming that he apologised to the British instead of fighting them.