BJP member Pragya Thakur referred to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "deshbhakt" during a debate in Lok Sabha, triggering a protest by opposition members.
When DMK member A Raja cited a statement of Godse on why he killed Mahatma Gandhi during a discussion on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, Thakur interrupted and said, "You cannot give example of a deshbhakt."
Raja said that Godse himself admitted that he had nursed a grudge against Gandhi for 32 years before finally deciding to assassinate him.
Godse, Raja said, killed Gandhi because he believed in a particular ideology (meaning Hindutva).
While the Opposition members protested the interruption by Thakur, the BJP members persuaded her to sit down.
Thakur is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case in which 10 persons were killed and more than 80 were injured.
This is not for the first time that Pragya Singh Thakur has called Nathuram Godse a deshbhakt.
During the Lok Sabha election campaign in May this year, she had reiterated the same thing and did not apologise for the same.
“Nathuram Godse deshbakht the, hain, aur rahenge. Unko antakwadi kehne wale log swayam ke girebaan main jhank kar dekhe. (Nathuram Godse was a patriot and will remain so. People calling him a terrorist should introspect. They will be given a befitting reply in these elections)," she had said.
The BJP as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had condemned Thakur’s comments saying he would never be able to forgive her for these comments on ‘Bapu’.
“The statements are very condemnable and it should be criticized. There is no space for such language and thinking in the country. People who make such statements will have to think a 100 times in future. I will never be able to forgive those who made these statements," Modi had said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had then distanced itself from her comments
and had promised to take her to task.
Rajya Sabha MP and party spokesperson G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said, “The party (BJP) completely disagrees with the statement and we strongly condemn it. The party will ask Pragya why she made such a statement. She should tender a public apology.”
However, Wednesday's incident showed that either the Bhopal MP does not care for PM Modi’s displeasure or the BJP's promise to discipline Thakur was a mere lip service.
The Congress reacted sharply over the BJP MP’s remarks and said that the remarks were a perfect representation of the ruling party's "deplorable hate politics".
"Repeatedly referring to Nathuram Godse as a 'deshbhakt' is a perfect representation of BJP's deplorable hate politics. Will PM Modi condemn Pragya Thakur's remarks or continue to stay silent?" the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.
(With agencies’ inputs)
Several other politicians and senior journalists too condemned Pragya Thakur’s comments on Twitter.