Explanation sought from 3 senior BJP leaders over pro-Godse remarks
Just two days ahead of the final phase of voting for the Lok Sabha elections, BJP launched damage control after three senior party leaders and election candidates made comments favoring Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse. BJP chief Amit Shah tweeted that an explanation within 10 days has been sought from Pragya Singh Thakur, Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde, and Nalin Kumar Kateel. Here's more.
"These comments (favoring Godse, made by the BJP leaders) have nothing to do with the party. All three have apologized, but these comments are against the ideology of the BJP and are being referred to the disciplinary committee," Shah tweeted.
अनुशासन समिति तीनों नेताओं से जवाब मांगकर उसकी एक रिपोर्ट 10 दिन के अंदर पार्टी को दे, इस तरह की सूचना दी गयी है।— Chowkidar Amit Shah (@AmitShah) May 17, 2019
BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate and Malegaon blasts-accused, Pragya Singh Thakur, on Thursday called Godse a "deshbhakt" (patriot). While responding to actor-turned-politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan's "free India's first terrorist" remark on Godse, Pragya said that Godse was, is, and will always remain a "deshbhakt". However, she later apologized for her remark and retracted her statement.
After BJP disowned Pragya's remark on Godse, she apologized in Hindi on Twitter, saying, "I apologize to the people of the country for my statements on Nathuram Godse. My statement was absolutely wrong. I have huge respect for the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi."
Meanwhile, Hegde, who is known for making controversial remarks, had tweeted that the current generation "gives good scope" for the "condemned to be heard" referring to Godse. He posted, "Am glad that 7 decades later today's generation debates in a changed perceptional environment and gives good scope for the condemned to be heard upon. #NathuramGodse would have finally felt happy with this debate!"
Even as Pragya's remarks triggered outrage and strong condemnation, Kateel on Friday compared Godse with former PM Rajiv Gandhi and 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab. "Godse killed one, Kasab killed 72, Rajiv Gandhi killed 17,000. You judge who is more cruel in this?" the two-time BJP parliamentarian posted on Twitter in Kannada. Kateel is contesting the Lok Sabha election from Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada constituency.
However, Hegde and Kateel's tweets have now been removed. Hegde tweeted claiming, "My Twitter account has been breached twice in the past one week and certain tweets have been posted on my timeline which has been discarded and deleted. Regret the posts attributed to me."