TRIGGERING A controversy, BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde, in an obvious reference to Mahatma Gandhi, termed his role in the freedom struggle as “drama” and an “adjustment” with the British. The BJP said it has issued a showcause notice to Hegde.
Speaking at the inauguration of a literary event on V D Savarkar in Bengaluru on February 1, Hegde said: “India is a country that believes in weapons and brains — shastra and shaastra. We do not take up weapons without using our brains. We also do not believe in the philosophy of laying down our arms and offering the other cheek. The personification of this is Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. He had practical views for the future of the country.”
While he did not name Gandhi, Hegde, in an obvious reference to him, said: “There is another freedom fighter who used to tell the British I will do as you say — adjustment and understanding — 20:20. We will pretend to protest against you and you can imprison us but treat us well. He was never beaten with a lathi, he did not know what it is to be beaten with a lathi. Such a person is a freedom fighter in the history books.”
“If you ask them how our country got independence, they say we sat on hunger strike… The British got scared and gave us independence and ran away. If we see this history, our blood boils. These are the great people of this country. Those who have fought for the country with weapons have all been relegated to darkness. Those who made adjustments with the British and were certified as freedom fighter are remembered in history,’’ he said.
“This is the state of the country and there has been no way of correcting this… We were asked to study only this. Even if I thought someone was a lion, I was forced to believe he was a fox,’’ he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, BJP general secretary in charge of Karnataka, P Muralidhar Rao, said: “The party has expressed its displeasure over the remarks and a showcause notice has been sent to Hegde.”
Party sources, however, denied reports that Hegde would be asked to stay away from BJP meetings. “We will wait for his response. He has been asked to explain his remark. We should wait to hear what he has to say,” said a source.
Hegde did not respond to requests for comments on the party’s position regarding his latest remarks.
Last year, the BJP had issued a showcause notice to Hegde for briefly extolling Nathuram Godse on social media. He later claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked.
When the then Congress president Rahul Gandhi questioned the veracity of air strikes on terror camps in Pakistan last year, Hegde questioned Rahul’s Hindu credentials.
In one of his most controversial statements, Hegde stated in 2017 that the BJP would remove the word ‘secular’ from the Constitution, but later apologised in Parliament after being confronted by the Opposition.
In 2016, he was booked in a hate speech case in Sirsi, his hometown, in connection with inflammatory statements he made about Islam.
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