National

Pragya calls Godse a patriot; BJP distances itself from comment

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 16, 2019 Published on May 16, 2019

File photo of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur   -  THE HINDU

 

BJP’s controversial candidate from Bhopal, former terror accused Pragya Singh Thakur, on Thursday stunned the nation with her praise for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin — Nathuram Godse — as a desh bhakt (patriot).

Although Thakur is said to have retracted her comments after the BJP asked her to apologise, the remark revealed the extent of normalisation of Hindu extremism which started with Thakur’s own candidature.

“Nathuram Godse was, is and will remain a patriot,” she said to reporters covering her roadshow in Agar Malwa in Madhya Pradesh. “Those calling him a terrorist should instead do some self-introspection. They will be given a befitting reply,” she said.

The remark was ostensibly her response for Tamil star and politician Kamal Hasan’s recent description of Godse being “free India’s first terrorist”.

‘PM should apologise’

Simultaneously, Congress’ Digvijay Singh, Thakur’s opponent in Pbhopal, condemned her statement as an “anti-national” act.

“Narendra Modi ji, Amit Shah ji and BJP leaders from Madhya Pradesh should apologise to the country. I condemn the words used against the Father of the Nation. Nathuram Godse was a killer and eulogising him is not patriotism, but an anti-national act,” Digvijay Singh said.

The AICC spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Pragya Thakur’s transgressions are part of a pattern deliberately set by the BJP’s top leadership.

“BJP and its leaders are deliberately and in a concerted conspiracy are attacking the thought, the entire way of life, as also the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. This is an unpardonable sin. The truth is that insulting India’s martyr and denigrating them has become the culture of the BJP,” said Surjewala .

Other political parties joined with the NCP asking an explanation from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi about whether his party agreed with Pragya Thakur. “Nathuram Godse, who has murdered Mahatma Gandhi, is being defended by BJP’s candidate Pragya Thakur and is being called a patriot. People can now see @BJP4India ‘s real face through.@SadhviPragya_MP,” Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil said on Twitter.

This is the second time that Thakur has made incendiary and controversial remarks and apologised for the same. She had earlier asserted that Maharashtra police officer Hemant Karkare, martyr of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, died because she had “cursed” him.

After she created another political storm, the BJP distanced itself from her remarks, saying it did not agree with her, as “Mahatma Gandhi’s killer cannot be a patriot”.

Pragya Thakur’s spokesperson and BJP leader Hitesh Bajpai said she has apologised for her remark and the BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit officially distanced from her statement.

“BJP does not agree with her statement. The party will talk to her under what circumstances she gave the statement. One who killed Mahatma Gandhi can’t be a desh bhakt,” state BJP media cell in-charge Lokendra Parashar said.

In Delhi, BJP spokesperson G. V. L. Narasimha Rao said the party did not agree with her and that she should apologise for her remarks.

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Published on May 16, 2019
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