The Shiv Sena faction, led by Uddhav Thackeray, will skip a meeting of Opposition parties at Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence on Monday, according to media reports.
Rahul Gandhi's "My name is not Savarkar, won't apologise" comment appears to have deeply offended Thackeray's party.
On Sunday, Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray told the Congress he and his party won’t tolerate insults of Savarkar.
The leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Congress party president, Kharge had invited opposition floor leaders for a meeting at his Delhi residence on Monday night.
The floor leaders of Opposition parties will meet at Kharge's residence at 7:30 pm tonight.
The meeting was expected to bring about Opposition unity in the face of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha, over his remarks on PM Narendra Modi during an election rally in 2019.
However, it seems that the Savarkar remark made by the Congress scion has brought about a thaw in the Opposition and even the Shiv Sena, Uddhav faction which is an important member of the Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra, has turned against its ally, the Congress.
This comes as several Opposition MPs took out a march from parliament to Vijay Chowk to protest against the government over the Adani issue and Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from the Lok Sabha.
Trinamul Congress, which has so far stayed away from opposition protests, joined the sit-in today.
The protesters, including Congress MP Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge, gathered near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament complex wearing black and raised slogans against the Modi government.
Earlier in the day, parliamentarians of various opposition parties, including the Congress, TMC, BRS, and SP, met at the Parliament complex to discuss a strategy to take forward the Adani issue as well as Rahul Gandhi's disqualification matter in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
The Shiv Sena (UBT) condemned Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from Lok Sabha, but its leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray warned Congress that demeaning Savarkar would create “cracks” in the opposition alliance.
"Veer Savarkar is our God, and any disrespect towards him will not be tolerated. We are prepared to fight, but insulting our Gods is not something we will tolerate," the Shiv Sena (UBT) chief said, as quoted by news agency PTI.
He further said that there would be “cracks” in the opposition alliance if Gandhi continues to insult Savarkar.
During a press conference on Saturday following his disqualification as Lok Sabha MP, Rahul Gandhi had said, “My name is not Savarkar, my name is Gandhi and Gandhi does not offer an apology to anyone."
Attacks on Savarkar will reduce people's sympathy over disqualification, Sena reminds Rahul
The Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) on Monday said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's attack on freedom fighter V D Savarkar will lead to ebbing of sympathy he has gained due to his disqualification as Lok Sabha MP.
An editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana' said the truth, which Gandhi is fighting for today, will not win by making defamatory statements against Savarkar, reports PTI.
At a rally on Sunday, Uddhav Thackeray said he considers Savarkar as his "idol", and asked Gandhi to refrain from "insulting" him.
Thackeray said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance of three parties - Sena (UBT), Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) - was formed to protect democracy and it was necessary to work unitedly for it.
"By making defamatory statements against Savarkar, the sympathy gained by Rahul Gandhi will start ebbing. This will, for sure, put the Maharashtra Congress in a uncomfortable position," the editorial said.
Gandhi's remarks that he is not Savarkar to apologise will not affect the faith of the people in the Hindutva ideologue, it added.
Without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the editorial said a dictator is always scared and that he first starts controlling the judiciary and parliament and destroys the opposition.
This is precisely called slavery, the editorial said.
It said Savarkar pledged to fight such slavery at the age of 12 and Gandhi should take a similar oath.