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Sangh lends steam to Savarkar tussle

Nagpur, March 7: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh will adopt a “strong” resolution in defence of Hindu Mahasabha founder V.D. Savarkar at its ongoing All-India Delegates’ Convention (Pratinidhi Sabha).

The RSS central committee that met yesterday discussed the draft resolution. But with delegates clamouring to speak on the subject, the leaders decided to place it for a general discussion, and after incorporating the amendments agreed upon, adopt the resolution tomorrow.

The context for bringing in the resolution was the controversy that followed the Centre’s decision to put up Savarkar’s portrait in Parliament’s Central Hall last week. The entire Opposition boycotted the unveiling ceremony though the decision was earlier ratified by an all-party committee of Parliament, which included Congress and Left leaders.

Stressing that the Savarkar resolution was a “departure from tradition”, RSS sources said it was introduced for ideological and political reasons. “The Opposition targeted him not for personal reasons but because of its hatred for the ideology he represented. Same for the so-called secular-Left historians. But the ideology espoused by Savarkar is the main source of the RSS’ inspiration. Therefore, our members became emotional and emphasised we should not be apologetic or embarrassed about defending him,” they explained.

The sources maintained that though the RSS’ resolutions never used “strong and categorical” language, an exception would be made for Savarkar.

The sources also acknowledged that the Hindu Mahasabha founder was an icon in Maharashtra and, as such, it was “befitting” that an RSS convention in Nagpur should “send the right signal” to his supporters.

BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan has already criticised Nationalist Congress Party leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar for staying away from the unveiling ceremony and warned that the people of the state would take “due note” of this.

Maharashtra will go to polls in 2004 and Savarkar’s “denigration”, the RSS felt, was another addition to the “sins of omission and commission” of the Congress-NCP government.

Asked what the resolution would state, sources said: “It would delve into history to show up the Opposition parties for what they are.” It is expected to refer to the Emergency and the “compromise” the CPI struck with Indira Gandhi to try and counter the charge that Savarkar had begged for mercy from the British when he was arrested and jailed.

The resolution is also expected to refer to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s “foreign” origins to make the “point” that she was “politically and otherwise” incapable of “appreciating” Savarkar’s “contribution” to the freedom struggle.

The other resolutions that will be passed tomorrow relate to the 125th birth anniversary of the Mother, the abrogation of the Illegal Migrants (Determination) by the Tribunals Act operative in Assam and the need to “indigenise” farming.

The RSS report of 2002-2003 also talked of how “the stranglehold of the ISI over Bangladesh and its efforts for continued planned infiltration of Bangladeshis into India has attracted the attention of the state and central governments as well as the general public. It appears that the state and central governments are seized of the issue and preparing to act”.

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