PM censures Pragya Thakur but she continues as BJP candidate

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 17, 2019 Published on May 17, 2019

The BJP initiates disciplinary action against Pragya, two more party leaders

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed regret over the remarks of BJP’s controversial candidate Pragya Singh Thakur — who praised Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a patriot.

However, the party stood its ground on her candidature, which was described as part of a “satyagraha against the Congress for defaming Hindus by using the term saffron terror”.

In an interview to a TV channel, the PM said Pragya Thakur’s comments were “detrimental to society” and he will not forgive her.

“The remarks made about Gandhiji or Nathuram Godse are very bad and very wrong for society,” he said. “She has sought an apology but I would never be able to forgive her fully,” he added.

However, at a joint press conference addressed by the PM and BJP President Amit Shah, it was clarified that the BJP’s campaign was against the term “saffron terror”, which was part of the Congress’ “vote bank politics” to defame Hindus.

Amit Shah said Congress President Rahul Gandhi should apologise for “defaming Hindus” with the saffron terror investigations launched under the UPA’s tenure.

“These (denouncing Pragya Thakur’s statement on Godse and the BJP’s decision to field her as a candidate) are two separate issues. Our struggle against saffron terror is against vote bank-related investigations launched by the Congress. Samjhauta blast was linked to LeT. An imaginary element of saffron terror was added to it. They only wanted to do vote bank politics. They wanted to defame Hindus. The Congress President should apologise,” said the BJP President.

He said the BJP has issued Pragya Thakur, who is the BJP’s candidate for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat and also an accused in Malegaon blast, a show cause notice for her statement, from which the party has dissociated itself.

“After her reply, the disciplinary committee will decide on the matter. The whole party is against these statements issued by three leaders and we have initiated disciplinary proceedings against them,” said Amit Shah.

Meanwhile, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is facing a criminal defamation case by the RSS for linking the Sangh with Gandhi’s assassination, mocked the BJP for “not being God-Ke Lovers but God-Se Lovers”. At a press conference, Gandhi said, “These statements reflect the ideology of violence that Mr Modi and his party subscribe to.”

Others join the chorus

Two more BJP leaders — party MPs from Karnataka Nalin Kumar Kateel and Anant Kumar Hegde — joined the chorus on Godse.

Kateel compared Godse with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. “Godse killed one, Kasab killed 72, Rajiv Gandhi killed 17,000. You judge who is more cruel??” Kateel tweeted.

Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde also issued a tweet in which he justified Godse’s action. He later ascribed it to the hacking of his twitter account.

Shah had issued a statement earlier on Friday, saying the three leaders’ statements were not in line with the BJP’s ideology and an internal disciplinary committee has sought an explanation from them in 10 days.

Published on May 17, 2019
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