A political storm has erupted over BJP’s candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat Pragya Singh Thakur’s remarks that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was a “patriot”. Responding to actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s comment that Godse was the first ‘Hindu terrorist’, Thakur said that Godse was a true ‘desh bhakt’. She later apologised for her remark.
Even as the BJP distanced itself from the remark and served the Malegaon blast accused a show cause notice from the party’s disciplinary committee seeking an explanation within 10 days, the Opposition demanded stern action against Thakur.
Some reactions against Sadhvi Pragya’s remarks:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he will never forgive Thakur for calling Godse a true patriot. While speaking to a television channel in Khargone in Madhya Pradesh, Modi said the remarks were detrimental to the society and the language used by the BJP leader was not acceptable.
“Whatever has been said about Gandhi or Godse, these kind of statements are very bad and worth contempt. In a cultured society, this type of language is not permissible. This type of thinking won’t do. Therefore, those who are doing this have to think a hundred times. Though she has apologised, I won’t be able to pardon her with my heart,” PM Modi said.
BJP chief Amit Shah, at a press conference in New Delhi, said the party regrets the views expressed by the Bhopal candidate and assured prompt action against her. “We will immediately decide on appropriate action on them,” he said.
Congress used the opportunity to attack the saffron party. Party chief Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at the saffron party, saying the BJP and the RSS are not “God-ke Lovers” but “God-se Lovers”. “I finally got it. The BJP and the RSS… Are not God-Ke Lovers. They are God-Se Lovers,” he tweeted.
The Grand Old Party also said that Modi-Shah duo uses Gandhi for propaganda, but is “Godsewadi” in beliefs. “No matter how much Modi ji tried to hide Godse’s violent mask with Gandhi ji spectacles, but Mahatma Gandhi had said ‘I believe and it has been my experience of many times that no matter how much a person calls himself able but his hidden bad deeds do come to the fore’,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “When Sadhvi Pragya says: “Godse a Deshbakht” and Modi is silent with Vidyasagar’s statue a victim of the violent. I can only pray for my country and hope that one day the silent majority will keep violence at bay.”
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi upped the ante against PM Modi over his comments that he would never forgive Thakur for insulting Mahatma Gandhi. “Your drama, though, has to stop. This culture of demeaning every national icon & institution was started by you. Sadhvi is taking it to its logical end. After all, don’t you have Godse’s conspirators portrait in your office?” he posted on Twitter.
Senior Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also condemned Thakur’s remarks and said Godse was inspired by RSS ideology. “Godse was inspired by Sangh Pariwar’s ideology & so is Pragya. Former killed our Mahatma & the latter killed Mahatma’s children. Pragya who calls Godse a patriot is endorsed by @narendramodi Is this the sign of an attempt to proliferate Sangh’s hatred based ideology,” he tweeted.
Veteran CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury claimed that the BJP was “inspired” by the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi. “The truth about where RSS-BJP stands on terror gets clearer all the time. A senior Minister in Modi’s cabinet said Godse was not a terrorist, now terror-accused Pragya Thakur calls the murderer of Gandhi ji a ‘deshbhakt’. The BJP remains inspired by the killers of the Mahatma,” he tweeted.
Even industrialist Anand Mahindra condemned the statement, saying Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy is “sacred” to us, and equated attempts to damage the same with the Taliban militia’s acts of destroying statues in Afghanistan.
“For 75 years, Indias been the land of the Mahatma; a beacon when the world lost its morality. We used to be pitied for being poor but we were always rich since Bapu inspired billions globally,” he tweeted.
“Some things must remain sacred. Or we become the Taliban, destroying statues that sustain us,” he added, without naming Thakur in his post.