Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur called journalists dishonest on Tuesday, attracting criticism from local journalists who demanded an apology and asked the Bharatiya Janata Party to expel her, PTI reported. Thakur made the comments when local reporters asked her for a reaction on several matters in the state.
“I am speaking now, hear your praise. All media persons in Sehore [city and district in Madhya Pradesh] are beimaan (dishonest),” Thakur said while laughing. The remarks were reportedly made in jest, but a group of journalists later gave a memorandum, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the local authorities calling for an apology.
Thakur had visited Sehore, part of the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, to give out fruits to mark Modi’s birthday.
The Congress criticised Thakur for her comments against the media. “Sometimes, she sees a martyr in [Nathuram] Godse, sometimes, she says Hemant Karkare was killed due to her curse, then she says MPs are not meant to clean drains, and now, she is trying to take out her frustration on the media,” The Week quoted Congress Spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi as saying.
Chaturvedi also asked Modi to take note of the person the BJP was giving a platform to speak from the Bhopal parliamentary seat. He expressed concern about Thakur’s mental health and asked the prime minister to take action on the matter.
While BJP’s Chief Spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya said Thakur’s remarks would have to be put in context, another spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal said the saffron party was aware of the media’s commitment.
In April, Thakur had claimed former Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare died because she had cursed him. Her comments drew criticism from all corners, including an Indian Police Service association, following which she withdrew her statement.
The Bhopal MP, who is one of the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, also courted controversy during the Lok Sabha elections by calling Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a patriot. She apologised for the remark the next day after facing a barrage of criticism, both from her own party as well as the Opposition.
In July, the BJP MP told party workers in Sehore that she was not elected to “clean drains and toilets”. A month later, she said anyone who harmed the country was a criminal, referring to former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Following senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s death last month, Thakur said that the Opposition was using “marak shakti” (power to kill), to harm the saffron party’s leaders.
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