BJP MP Pragya Thakur purportedly referring to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin as a 'deshbhakt' in the Lok Sabha has sparked off a controversy as opposition leaders slammed her.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath on Wednesday asked the BJP to take action against Thakur for allegedly referring to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a 'deshbhakt' in Parliament.
The Congress said Thakur's remarks were a "perfect representation" of the BJP's "deplorable hate politics".
Reacting to Thakur's remarks, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the prime minister, who celebrated Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary in a grand manner, is requested to say from the heart what his thoughts are about Godse.
"Modi ji, inaction against Pragya proves your latent support to Godse's sinister thought! India won't pardon you!" Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewla said on Twitter.
Earlier, during the Lok Sabha election campaign, Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, had described Godse as a "patriot", triggering a huge political storm and all-around condemnation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he would never be able to forgive her fully.
The Hindutva activist had then withdrawn the statement and issued an apology. Even PM Narendra Modi had condemned her comments.
This time around, Thakur said, "The topic that was discussed was of security and A Raja spoke about 'deshbhakt' Udham Singh. He said that Udham Singh nursed a grudge against General Dyer of Jallianwala Bagh massacre for 20 years before killing him. When Raja went on speaking, I interrupted to say that he should not take the name of patriots - 'Deshbhakto ka naam mat lijiye'."
Meanwhile, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi has said Thakur did not take the name of Nathuram Godse.
"According to Pragya Thakur, she has not said anything about or supported Nathuram Godse, she was only talking about Udham Singh, the revolutionary who killed General Dyer," Joshi told PTI.
He further said when Thakur was speaking during a debate in the Lok Sabha, the microphone was not on and it cannot be taken on record.
On the other hand, leader from BJP's Bihar ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U), KC Tyagi, has said that Pragya Thakur is openly defying Prime Minister Narendra Modi and should be expelled from the party.
"The entire world is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is propagating this. The statement given by the BJP MP is objectionable. This should be handed over to the ethics committee so that her membership can be ended," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Several opposition leaders have also severely criticised Thakur over the purported statement. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has asked the BJP to clarify its stand in the matter.
"Pragya Thakur always speaks in favour of Nathuram Godse. BJP should clarify whether they are with Gandhi or Godse. Munh mein Gandhi aur dil mein Godse nahi chalega (Gandhi on the lips and Godse in the heart will not work)," Baghel said.
During the debate in the Lok Sabha on Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019, DMK member A Raja was speaking on the bill. He referred to Godse's remarks on why he killed Mahatma Gandhi and said he nursed a grudge against him for over three decades.
Thakur interrupted Raja and allegedly said he should not give the example of 'deshbhakts' (patriots) for 'deshbhakti' (patriotism).
(With inputs from agencies)