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BJP condemns Pragya’s Godse comment, recommends her removal from defence panel

"We have decided that Thakur will not attend meetings of BJP parliamentary party during the session," BJP working president J P Nadda said.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
Updated: November 28, 2019 12:49:09 pm
pragya singh thakur removed from defence panel, pragya singh thakur godse remark, protests against pragya singh thakur, bjp on pragya singh thakur godse remark BJP MP from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur.

BJP working president J P Nadda on Thursday recommended the removal of Pragya Singh Thakur from the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Defence, a day after the Lok Sabha MP triggered a political storm by describing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a “deshbhakt” (patriot) in Parliament.

In Lok Sabha Wednesday, when DMK member A Raja, participating in a debate on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, was citing Godse’s statement on why he killed the Mahatma, Thakur interrupted and made the remark praising Godse.

Condemning the remark, Nadda said the party never supports such statements and also barred the Bhopal MP from attending meetings of the BJP parliamentary party during the entire winter session. “We have decided that Thakur will not attend meetings of BJP parliamentary party during the session,” he was quoted as saying by the agency.

Speaking on similar lines, Union minister Rajnath Singh said the party doesn’t subscribe to a philosophy that describes Godse as a patriot. “If someone considers Nathuram Godse as a ‘deshbhakt’, then our party condemns it. Mahatma Gandhi is an idol for us, he was our guiding light and will remain so,” he said in Lok Sabha.

The Congress, which wanted a debate on the MP’s remarks, staged a walkout from the Lower House after Speaker Om Birla denied any discussion.

On Wednesday, as the angry Opposition sought an apology from Thakur and BJP members were seen persuading her to sit down, Speaker Om Birla said her remark will not go into the records of the House proceedings. In a communiqué later, the Lok Sabha secretariat said the remark had been expunged from the records.

Raja said Godse himself admitted that he nursed a grudge against Gandhi for 32 years before he finally decided to assassinate him. He said Godse killed Gandhi because he believed in a particular philosophy. To drive home the point that the action of a person could evoke reactions even after years, Raja also mentioned the 1940 killing of Michael O’Dwyer by Udham Singh, 21 years after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. “The threat does not go away with the person dying. So, before removing security, there should be an objective test,” he said.

Outside Parliament, as the Congress targeted the Prime Minister for not taking action against Thakur, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi claimed that Thakur did not name Godse or anyone else. “Her mic was not on. She made the objection when the name of Udham Singh was being taken. She has even explained this and told me personally,” Joshi said.

But Raja told The Indian Express: “The Bhopal MP made the comment with regards to Godse only.”

BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah was present in the House when Thakur made the remark.

Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi also sought an apology from the BJP MP. “India celebrates 150th year of Gandhi Jayanti but terror accused BJP MP Pragya Thakur celebrates Godse as ‘martyr’ on the floor of Parliament. Modiji, inaction against Pragya proves your latent support to Godse’s sinister thought! India won’t pardon you!” party communication department head Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

In May, Thakur, during the election campaign, told ANI: “Nathuram Godseji deshbhakt thhe, hai, aur rahenge… unko aatankwadi kahne wale log swayam ki gireban me jhaank kar dekhe… chunav mein aise logon ko jawab de diya jayega (Nathuram Godse was a patriot, is a patriot, and will remain a patriot… those who call him a terrorist should look within… they will get a reply this election).”

This led to an uproar and the Prime Minister too disapproved of Thakur’s remarks, saying “the remarks made about Gandhiji or Nathuram Godse are very bad and very wrong for society… She has sought an apology but I would never be able to forgive her fully”.

The BJP had sent Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blast case, and two other leaders — Nalin Kumar Kateel, currently president of Karnataka BJP and former minister Anantkumar Hegde — showcause notices over their remarks on Godse. At a press conference, which he addressed along with the Prime Minister, BJP president Amit Shah had promised appropriate action against them. No disciplinary action has been taken so far — at least, the party has not made it public.

Last week, the Lok Sabha member was nominated to the 21-member parliamentary consultative committee which is headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

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