A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a “nationalist”, days after BJP’s Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur stoked a controversy by describing him as a “patriot”, reported News18.
Usha Thakur, the Mhow legislator, said that Godse was concerned about the nation throughout his life. In response to a question from a reporter asking if she thinks Godse is a nationalist, Thakur is heard saying in the video that he was a “nationalist surely”.
“Godse was a nationalist who was concerned about the nation all his life,” Thakur, who is also the vice president of the BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit, said. “I believe that [he was] a person who was concerned about the nation throughout his life. What the circumstances were due to which he took this decision [to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi], only he would know. I think you or I should not even comment on it.”
But the convener of the disciplinary committee of the BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit, Babu Singh Raghuwanshi, blamed the media for asking BJP leaders unrestrained questions. He told PTI that the video is “an edited version and an unwanted controversy is being created by just catching a particular word.”
State Congress spokesperson Neelabh Shukla said these statements reveal BJP’s “true face”, according to PTI.
Congress media coordinator Narendra Saluja demanded Thakur’s expulsion from the party. “The manner in which the BJP leaders are praising Godse, it seems that the party should put up his pictures in all its offices and should offer puja,” Saluja told News18.
Thakur is known for her controversial comments. In September 2014, she had said organisers of Garba events should not allow Muslim youths to enter the venues to stop “love jihad”. In September 2015, Thakur had said Muslims should sacrifice their sons and not goats if the ritual of sacrifice was so important on Eid. During the #MeToo movement, she had said that women make compromises for personal gains and later accuse men.
Nathuram Godse row
BJP’s Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur had called Godse a patriot days before the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections, triggering a row. “Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt [patriot], he is and will remain a deshbhakt,” she had said on May 16, in response to actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, who had said Godse was independent India’s first terrorist and also a Hindu. She apologised for the remark the next day after facing a barrage of criticism, both from her own party as well as the Opposition.
On May 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he will never be able to forgive Thakur for her comments.
BJP President Amit Shah also criticised Thakur and pulled up two other party MPs – Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde and Nalin Kumar Kateel – for posting sympathetic tweets about Godse. The disciplinary committee had sought an explanation from all the three leaders, the deadline for which ended on May 27.