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Alliance with Congress to 'survive despite differences', but won't compromise on Savarkar: Sanjay Raut

Amid row over Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s remarks criricising Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday said that his party - the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction - has differences with the Congress on some issues but they “had to survive despite differences” for the sake of the country.

In an interview with NDTV, Raut, however, said his party would never compromise on Hindutva or Veer Savarkar even as it is a part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). He also said that his party was in an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party for long despite their differences, and it worked smoothly.

“There are some issues where the Shiv Sena can not compromise. This includes (the issue of) Veer Savarkar and Hindutva. Our party is built on an ideology and we are not surrendering that,” Raut told NDTV.

Last week, the Shiv Sena was on the defensive after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's critical comments on Savarkar caused a controversy. Raut had warned that such comments about Savarkar could cause cracks in the MVA alliance of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.

Asked whether the alliance will survive in the long term, Raut said it will if the country needed it. "If democracy, freedom and the Constitution are to be safeguarded, then we have to forget our differences and come together," he said.

Raut, who was in New Delhi on Tuesday, said talks do take place with Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra and other Congress leaders.

On Monday, Raut had tweeted that Rahul had called him to enquire about his health and said he was touched by the gesture.

On the controversy over Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's remarks about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Sena leader said there was a demand from across the state that Koshyari be removed from his post.

"When the BJP asks us how we tolerate such things about Savarkar and we ask how does your governor speak like this against Chhatrapati Shivaji, they do not have any answer," he said.

Most governors appointed during the BJP rule have been pracharaks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, but when they occupy the post of governor, they should act neutral instead of turning Raj Bhavan into a party office, Raut said.

Source : DNA India