The Election Commission on Thursday ordered Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer VL Kantha Rao to submit a “factual report” by Friday on Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s remark that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, was a “deshbhakt” or patriot, ANI reported.
“People calling him a terrorist should instead look within,” Thakur had told ANI earlier in the day. “Such people will be given a befitting reply in this election.”
She later said she apologises if she has hurt anybody’s sentiments with her remark, ANI reported. Thakur claimed her statement was made in the heat of the moment, in response to the spectre of Hindu terror raised by the Opposition. “What Gandhiji has done for the country cannot be forgotten,” she added. However, she also claimed that the media has taken her remark out of context. She also told ANI that she is devoted to the Bharatiya Janata Party and that the party’s stance is her stance.
The BJP said it “disagrees” with Thakur’s remark. “BJP does not agree with her statement,” Madhya Pradesh BJP media cell chief Lokendra Parashar said. “The party will talk to her under which circumstances she gave the statement. One who killed Mahatma Gandhi cannot be a deshbhakt.”
Thakur’s comments come in the backdrop of Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan calling Godse “free India’s first extremist”. Haasan had made the remark at a public meeting in Aravakurichi Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu on Monday. He had also pointed out that Godse was a Hindu. On Wednesday, he said his comment was a “historical truth”. The actor-turned-politician is facing a court case in Delhi and a First Information Report has been registered in Tamil Nadu.