Indira Gandhi was a follower of Veer Savarkar, said his grand-nephew, Ranjeet, who stated that everything that the former prime minister did was "against Nehru and Gandhi's philosophy".
"Indira Gandhi honoured Veer Savarkar, I strongly feel she was his follower because she brought Pakistan to its knees, strengthened army and foreign relations, she also did nuclear tests. All this is against Nehru and Gandhi's philosophy," Ranjeet told ANI here.
His remarks come amidst the controversy which broke out after the BJP's proposed the name of Savarkar among others for Bharat Ratna in its manifesto for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls.
"(Asaduddin) Owaisi should follow Savarkar's belief that keep religion in your house, when out you are not Hindu or Muslim but Indian. Savarkar expected all who enter Parliament to keep caste, religion, sex etc out. You won't find a more secular man than Savarkar," Ranjeet said.
Ranjeet said that Savarkar was acquitted by the court because there was no evidence against him. "Even the government, Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister at that time, he didn't go on appeal," he said.
"Secondly, the propaganda that Kapur Commission had indicted him is totally false. It had not indicted him, there was no new evidence against Savarkar as it is alleged. He has the complete report of Kapur Commission with him. Supreme Court last year has clarified that Kapur Commission in its findings has nowhere indicted Savarkar. So, I think this issue should be over. And if you are still talking about it, then it means you don't believe in judiciary," Ranjeet added.
While addressing media in Mumbai on Thursday, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said, "We are not against Savarkar, but the question is we are not in favour of the Hindutva ideology that Savarkar ji patronised and stood for."
Talking about this, Ranjeet said, "If you talk about ideology, I challenge you (to) show a single Congressman, who works on the footprints of Mahatma Gandhi... Also, show me a single thing Indira Gandhi had done on the lines of Gandhi. So, don't talk about all these things. You accept it, Savarkar was a great man, Indira Gandhi honoured him. (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi wants to honour him, let him honour."
Asked whether he is personally hurt over the criticism, Ranjeet said, "No, we are accustomed to it... We have got documents, facts and everything. We can prove that every allegation against Savarkar is false. And I challenge those, who think they are right, to come for an open debate. You chose you place and time."
Ranjeet said that he feels "glad that Savarkar is not getting Bharat Ratna backdoor."
"BJP has put it on the agenda. So, it is open to the public, let public react to it. If public feels it is wrong, they will vote against the BJP," he concluded.