Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshiram should be honoured with India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, and not Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Sudhindra Bhadoria, a BSP spokesperson, said on Wednesday.
Lashing out at the BJP, which has proposed Bharat Ratna for Savarkar in its Maharashtra election manifesto, Bhadoria told ANI that the Hindutva ideologue never favoured social activist Bhim Rao Ambedkar, who worked for Dalits and drafted the Constitution.
"In its election manifesto for Maharashtra Assembly polls, the BJP has proposed Bharat Ratna for Savarkar. The announcement shows that the BJP is trying to politicise the institution of Bharat Ratna," he said.
Bhadoria maintained that the BSP wants the government to confer Bharat Ratna on Kanshiram, who, he said, awakened the Dalits, OBCs, and underprivileged people.
"Bharat Ratna should first be given to Kanshi Ram, it is the demand of the BSP and also the masses of the country," the BSP leader said.
The BJP manifesto, released on Tuesday, had a page on Bharat Ratna awards in which the party proposed the names of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, Savitribai Phule and Veer Savarkar for the country's highest civilian award.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his election rally in Akola, hailed Savarkar and said it was because of his values that nationalism had been put at the core of nation-building.
Single-phase polls in Maharashtra will be held on October 21 and results will be announced on October 24.
(With inputs from ANI)