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Ahead of MP civic polls, Congress inducts ‘Godse follower’, says ‘wants to reform’

Babulal Chourasia’s hriday parivartan (change of heart) happened ahead of the upcoming local body elections.

Babulal Chourasia joins Cong in the presence of former CM Kamal Nath on Thursday. (ANI)

Infamous for lending a hand in the setting-up of a temple for Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse in the Hindu Mahasabha office in Gwalior, the Councillor of the district’s Ward 44, Babulal Chourasia, was on Thursday inducted into the Congress party in the presence of Kamal Nath, state Congress president and former Chief Minister.

Chourasia’s hriday parivartan (change of heart) happened ahead of the upcoming local body elections. “Mein janamjaad Congressi hoon (I have been a Congressman since birth). I have joined my first family,” he told The Indian Express. He had quit the Congress after he was denied a ticket by the party for municipal elections in 2014, after which he joined the Hindu Mahasabha.

Justifying the decision, Kamal Nath said, “If Mr Modi wants to join our party, he can join. If someone wants to reform and realisation dawns on them that they have been on the wrong side and now want to join Congress, they can come.”

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To a question on what compelled the Congress to bring under its fold a local politician like Chourasia who spent time spreading Godse’s thoughts and ideas, Kamal Nath said, “There is nothing drastic about it. In Madhya Pradesh, we have a situation where politicians who abused the BJP, RSS, and everything all their lifetime, are now ministers. They would attack the RSS and even Modi, but it’s okay for them to join the BJP. Is that worse or this?”

Chourasia was one of the members of the Hindu Mahasabha’s core committee that had conceptualised the temple. After the Gwalior administration refused permission for construction of a temple, the Hindu Mahasabha installed Godse’s bust in its Daulatganj office in November 2017. It was, however, removed by the administration after an uproar by the Congress.

In January this year, the Hindu Mahasabha opened a ‘Godse Gyanshala’ dedicated to his life and ideology.

About this devotion to Godse in the past, Chourasia said, “It never felt right in the heart and I often thought of not doing it and quitting to join the Congress. But I did not want people to come and tell me that you had won on a ticket given by the Hindu Mahasabha. I have completed my tenure but in the first few years of joining the Mahasabha, a bitterness had developed in my heart, so I quit and went back to my old family.”

He said if Valmiki, a dacoit, can have a change of heart and become a maharishi, then why not him who had been associated with the Congress party since he was 22.

The state Congress party tweeted a picture of Chourasia joining the party on Wednesday. Praveen Pathak, Congress leader from Gwalior, took to twitter and said, “Gandhi ji aaj sharminda nahi khus huwe honge (Gandhiji would be happy, not ashamed, today). Godse’s ideology has been renounced and Gandhi’s blessings have been taken.”

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