The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday condemned Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur for her comments on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse in Lok Sabha a day earlier, PTI reported. Thakur was removed from the Ministry of Defence’s Parliamentary Consultative Committee and banned from attending the parliamentary meetings of the ruling party.
Thakur had referred to Godse as a patriot during a debate in the Lower House on Wednesday, though she defended herself on Thursday. She claimed in a tweet that she had reacted to an insult to revolutionary Udham Singh, and the criticism about her was a “storm of lies”.
BJP Working President JP Nadda announced the disciplinary action against Thakur as Opposition parties stepped up pressure to expel the Hindutva leader. Nadda told reporters that the party in no way endorses her statement, ANI reported.
“We have decided that she [Pragya Singh Thakur] will be removed from the consultative committee of defence, and in this session she will not be allowed to participate in the parliamentary party meetings.” Thakur was named in the 21-member parliamentary committee headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on October 31.
Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that the Bharatiya Janata Party condemned any philosophy that describes Godse as a patriot. “Far from talking about Nathuram Godse being called a patriot, we condemn the idea of treating him as a patriot,” he said. He added that Mahatma Gandhi’s “philosophy was, is and will remain relevant” and added that the BJP sees him as a guide for the nation.
Uproar in Lok Sabha
Opposition parties attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his “inaction” against her proves his latent support to “Godse’s sinister thought”.
The Congress said it would bring a censure motion. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Thakur’s remarks represent the “heart and soul” of the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi said that Modi, “who celebrated Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary with great pomp”, should now clarify what he really thinks about Gandhi.
“They [BJP] gave her a ticket and brought her to the Parliament, what will happen by not allowing her in parliamentary party meetings,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said. “She should not be allowed to sit in Parliament till she apologises, we will request the Speaker to censure her.”
BJP ally Janata Dal (United) welcomed the ruling party’s action against Thakur but its spokesperson KC Tyagi demanded that the matter should be referred to Lok Sabha’s ethics committee, highlighting that many members, including former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had been expelled on its recommendations in the past.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had wondered on Wednesday whether Thakur could remain a BJP MP.
Other MPs belonging to the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Nationalist Congress Party and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen staged a walkout after Rajnath Singh’s response.
“Sometimes the storm of lies is so deep that even the day begins to seem like night, but the sun never loses its light,” Thakur tweeted. “People should not get misled by a momentary storm, sunlight is stationary. The truth is just that I was unable to bear the insult of Udham Singh ji yesterday.”
Thakur is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bombing case, and is facing trial in a National Investigation Agency court. After the Godse controversy during the Lok Sabha election campaign, she issued an apology following a barrage of criticism from her own party as well as the Opposition. Modi had later said he would never be able to forgive Thakur for her comments.