23 November, 2020

Hard Times For Hardline

Savarkar kin bites Pune's dust

Hard Times For Hardline
In Pune's heart of Hindutva, as it were, Himani Savarkar who contested Kasba on a Hindu Mahasabha ticket could not damage the election prospects of either the Congress-NCP or the Shiv Sena-BJP. Himani, granddaughter-in-law to Veer Savarkar's brother, contended that both the alliances, particularly the saffron one, were not faithful to Veer Savarkar's ideology and legacy. Her line did not hold much appeal. Ideally, it should have, when the Sena and BJP had made the Savarkar plaque in Port Blair jail into an election issue. But voters could see through the sheer opportunism in their affinity for the Hindutva hero.

Neither Himani nor the Sena touched a chord among the voters on the issue. When the Savarkar controversy first broke and the BJP-Sena launched an all-out attack on Mani Shankar Aiyer for removing the Savarkar plaque, many Sena strategists saw it as an emotive issue which could be exploited. So, photographs of Aiyer garlanded with shoes were publicly displayed in Mumbai.

But the card failed to work. Very few voters knew about Savarkar. For many, he was a vague...


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