Mumbai, April 9: Close on the heels of the Bhojshala victory in Bhopal, comes another “triumph” for the saffron lobby in Mumbai.
After much grumbling by the ruling Congress-NCP coalition and more rabble-rousing by the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, Veer Savarkar loyalists today succeeded in installing his portrait in the Central Hall of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
In a face-saver of sorts, Speaker Arun Gujarathi said Subhas Chandra Bose’s portrait will also be put up in the Assembly.
The “Maharashtra victory”, as a BJP MLA termed it, comes a day after the Bhojshala monument in Madhya Pradesh was thrown open to Hindu worshippers, who have been allowed to perform puja every Tuesday.
The Maharashtra government seems to be at a loss on how to counter the BJP-Sena offensive. Some Congress MLAs were conspicuously silent on the Savarkar issue. Even chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde did not put up much of a fight.
Earlier, when the BJP-Sena members shouted in favour of installing Savarkar’s portrait, Shinde had said he did not have anything personal against the leader. “Some of Veer Savarkar’s thoughts are worthy of being talked about even now,” the chief minister had said.
There was loud thumping of desks in the Assembly when the Speaker made the announcement and said the decision to instal the portraits of Savarkar and Bose had been made by a committee comprising him and the chairman of the upper House, N.S. Pharande.
While Opposition leaders Narayan Rane and Nitin Gadkari had kept up the demand for Savarkar’s portrait, the demand for Bose’s portrait was made by ruling party leaders J.C. Chandurkar, Ranjana Kul, Kirti Gandhi and Dayanand Mhaske.