New Delhi: Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s grandson on Thursday defended his grandfather,  saying that he feels that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was his follower and lashed out at the opposition for objection to the BJP’s proposal in its Maharashtra manifesto promising to raise demand for Bharat Ratna for the Hindutva ideologue.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Ranjeet Savarkar said, “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.”

On the opposition’s objection, he said, “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.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have both defended Savarkar in their speeches in poll-bound Maharashtra. The opposition, led by the Congress and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, however, is unconvinced, with the Congress’ Manish Tewari even suggesting that the BJP should also confer Bharat Ratna upon Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.

However, speaking at a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday in which he attacked the government over the ongoing economic slowdown in the country, former PM Dr Manmohan Singh said that the Congress was not against Savarkar ji but only against his Hindutva ideology.

Besides Savarkar, the BJP, in its Maharashtra manifesto, has promised to raise demand for the country’s highest civilian honour for social reformers Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule. The state goes to polls in single-phase elections on October 21, with the result to be announced three days later.