Opposition members shouted slogans and raised banners in the Maharashtra legislative assembly hall to demand the installation of the portrait of Bharatiya Janata Party icon Veer Savarkar or Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, soon after a similar controversy erupted in the federal capital New Delhi.

A portrait of Savarkar was hung in the central hall of Parliament in the capital last week.

Following this, the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), yesterday raised the question of following a similar step in the home state of Savarkar, who was born in Bangur village of Nashik district in 1883 and died in Ratnagiri in 1966.

The controversy over Savarkar revolves around the fact that he kowtowed to the British after 16 years of incarceration in Andaman jail, referred to as 'kalapani' or black water, just to get a release.

He is also said to have propagated the two-nation theory, a separate homeland for Hindus and Muslims while also being the main accused in the assassination of India's revered Mahatma Gandhi.

He was acquitted as the the assassin Nathuram Godse took on the sole responsibility of murdering Gandhi. Savarkar headed the Hindu Mahasabha which spread the Hindutva ideology.
The Congress has kept away from officially paying tribute to Savarkar.

With Sena leader Manohar Joshi, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, having given the go-ahead for hanging his portrait in Parliament, leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, Narayan Rane of the Sena, yesterday said that Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde of the Congress-led government and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), its partner, should make a statement on the matter.

However, Speaker Arun Gujar-athi told him that the subject should be addressed to him and not to the government as it referred to the legislature.

Rane said the Congress party had opposed the installation of the portrait of Savarkar even though he was a revolutionary.