Bhopal BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Thakur on Thursday called Nathuram Godse — the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi — a "deshbhakt" (patriot) and will remain so forever. Pragya was reacting to Kamal Haasan's recent comment that the first terrorist in India was a Hindu, naming Godse. Pragya apologised later after she came under heavy criticism for her comments.
"My sentiment was not to hurt anyone's feelings. If it has hurt anybody's feelings then I apologise. What Gandhi ji has done for the country cannot be forgotten. I respect him a lot," she said in a video statement. She said she made the comments on the spur of moment to a question linked to "saffron terror" and claimed that the media twisted them.
Asked about the BJP terming her remarks as her personal views, she agreed and added that she was a disciplined worker of the party. She said her party's line is her line.
Campaigning in Agar Malwa district of Madhya Pradesh, Pragya told reporters: "Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt, is a deshbhakt and will always remain a deshbhakt, and people calling him a terrorist should instead look within." "Such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections," she remarked.
#WATCH BJP Bhopal Lok Sabha Candidate Pragya Singh Thakur says 'Nathuram Godse was a 'deshbhakt', is a 'deshbhakt' and will remain a 'deshbhakt'. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections pic.twitter.com/4swldCCaHK
— ANI (@ANI) May 16, 2019
However, BJP distanced itself from the Malegaon blast accused's statement and asked her to publicly apologise. Party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao, condemning Pragya's comment, said the party will ask her to clarify on the same. "BJP does not agree with this statement, we condemn it. Party will ask her for clarification, she should apologise publicly for this statement."
Meanwhile, reacting to Thakur’s comments, her Congress rival Digvijaya Singh said that BJP chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise for her comments as Godse was a "killer" and glorifying him is "sedition".
Congress media cell in-charge Narendra Saluja also hit out at Pragya and the saffron party saying, "She also made a mockery of late Hemant Karkare’s martyrdom and now she has spoken in this manner about Mahatma Gandhi’s killer. This exhibits the BJP’s ideology and also exposes what kind of candidate the party has fielded in Lok Sabha polls.”
Earlier, Pragya had drawn the ire of the Election Commission for her remark on the Babri Masjid demolition, which led to a 72-hour ban on her poll campaign. She had also stirred a major controversy for her claim that 26/11 attack martyr Hemant Karkare died because of her “curse”.
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Updated Date: May 17, 2019 08:47:10 IST