The assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, is in the centre of a fresh controversy as BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Sadhvi Pragya Thakur on Thursday described Godse a “deshbhakt”.
However, she retracted her statement soon and apologised with her party condemning the comment, but not before the Opposition Congress went to town alleging that insulting martyrs is in the DNA of the saffron party. The Congress also sought an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Election Commission has (EC) sought a report from Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer by Friday on Pragya’s statement.
Talking to a news channel on Thursday, Pragya had said, “Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt (patriot), he is and will remain a deshbhakt. Those calling him a terrorist should instead look at themselves. They will be given a befitting reply in this election.”
Pragya made the statement in response to a question over actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s remarks that Godse was Independent India’s first terrorist. The BJP condemned Pragya’s praise for Godse and asked her to tender an apology in public.
“We completely disagree with her statement with regard to Mahatma Gandhi. We strongly condemn this statement. The party will seek clarification from her. It would be proper for her to tender a public apology for her objectionable statement,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said in a statement.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “It is clear, the BJP people are the descendants of Godse. BJP people say Godse was a patriot and martyr Hemant Karkare was a traitor. Culture of violence and insulting martyrs is the DNA of the BJP.”
He said, “Modi-Amit Shah ji’s favourite BJP leader Pragya Thakur once again insulted the whole nation by calling Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse ‘a true patriot’.”
The BJP, through its leaders, is repeatedly launching “malicious attacks” on the Father of the Nation’s thinking, path and ideology, Surjewala alleged.
“This is a conspiracy to insult Gandhian principles. This is an unforgivable crime which the country will not forgive,” he said. “If Modi ji has some wisdom then he should punish Pragya Thakur and apologise to the country,” Surjewala said.
Pragya had started her election campaign by claiming that late Mumbai Police Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare was killed in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack because she had cursed him.