Agar Malwa (MP): BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha seat candidate and Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur Thursday kicked up a row as she called Mahatma Gandhi's assassin a "patriot".
Talking to a news channel here, Thakur said, "Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt (patriot), he is and will remain a deshbhakt. Those calling him a terrorist should instead look at themselves. They will be given a befitting reply in this election."
Thakur said this in response to a question over actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan's remarks that free India's first terrorist was a Hindu", a reference to Nathuram Godse.
Her statement has created ripples in the BJP with the party distancing itself from her statement and asked her to publicly apologise for the remarks.
“BJP does not agree with this statement, we condemn it. Party will ask her for clarification, she should apologise publicly for this,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.
The state BJP too distanced itself form her remarks saying that “the killer of Mahatma Gandhi can’t be a Deshbhakt.”
“The BJP completely disagree with her statement. The party will ask her in which circumstances she has given such a statement. One who killed Mahatma Gandhi can’t be a Deshbhakt,” state BJP media cell in-charge Lokendra Parashar said.
Congress slams BJP
The Congress was quick to slam the BJP over Pragya Singh's remarks. Senior Congress leader and the party's LS candidate from Bhopal, Digvijaya Singh, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and the state BJP should give their statements and apologize to the nation. “I condemn this statement, Nathuram Godse was a killer, glorifying him is not patriotism, it is sedition,” he said.
Congress spokesperson R Surjewala said, “India's soul is under attack by successors of Godse, the BJP ruling dispensation. BJP leaders are describing the murderer of the father of the nation as a true nationalist and declaring those who sacrificed their lives for nation like Hemant Karkare as anti-nationals.”
Pragya Singh was in Agar Malwa for a road-show for Mahendra Solanki, BJP candidate from Dewas Lok Sabha seat.
Pragya joined BJP in Bhopal on April 17 morning and in the afternoon she was declared as the party’s candidate for Bhopal constituency. Next day, while beginning her election campaign, Pragya, addressing party workers, had stated that her “curse" had killed martyr Hemant Karkare, who laid down his life fighting terrorists in the 26/11 attacks. She had also bragge about participating in the demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
She was banned temporarily from campaigning by the Election Commission.
After the May 12 election in Bhopal, Pragya was spending time at her residence in Rivera Town, a posh locality in Madhya Pradesh capital.
Party insiders claimed that she was told to avoid media till elections get over.
The State BJP has not listed her name as a campaigner in Malwa Nimar region – a traditional saffron stronghold, which goes to polls on May 19.
Addressing an election campaign rally at Aravakurichi (Tamil Nadu) on May 12, Haasan had said, "I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Free India's first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it (terrorism, apparently) starts."