Amid plans by BJP and Shiv Sena led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to carry out Savarkar Gaurav Yatra, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said that "Savarkar is not a national issue" and problems of people should be addressed.
He, however, noted that Savarkar has said many progressive things. He said opposition parties will have to understand BJP's politics.
Pawar's remarks came amid efforts by the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena to make a major issue of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's comments on VD Savarkar.
"Savarkar has said many progressive things. As I said earlier also that we should see the progressive side of Savarkar. Today he is not here. So there is no need to discuss any topic about those who are not here. Savarkar is not a national issue," Pawar said at a press conference in Nagpur.
"I don't think that this (Rahul Gandhi's London speech) issue is that much important because it is not that criticism is being done today only in the past also leaders have criticised the government. Only now such issues are being brought up repeatedly. If people have problems over any issues in the country and if someone talks about them, then those issues should be addressed," he added.
Rahul Gandhi had said at a press conference after his disqualification from Lok Sabha following his conviction by a Surat court in a criminal defamation case that he would not apologise.
"My name is not Savarkar, my name is Gandhi and Gandhi does not offer an apology to anyone," he had said.
The BJP and Shiv Sena had slammed Gandhi's remarks. Shiv Sena (UBT), which is an ally of Congress, had also expressed its concerns over Gandhi's remarks.
During the press conference, Pawar recalled his past speech in Parliament.
"The sacrifice made by Savarkar for the freedom of the country cannot be ignored. I liked Savarkar's scientific thinking. Savarkar said a few things in public and put them into practice which had a social angle. He got a temple built in front of his house in Ratnagiri, and for the first time, the temple was worshipped by a person of 'Valmiki Samaj'. This thinking of Savarkar is termed progressive," Pawar said.
Pawar also talked about meeting of opposition parties earlier this week to take on government on various issues.
"Leaders of 20 parties were present in that meeting. There are important issues before the country," he said.
"The opposition will have to understand the politics done by the country's ruling party," he added.
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