BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate and Malegaon blasts-accused, Pragya Singh Thakur, on Thursday called Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse a "deshbhakt" (patriot).
Responding to actor-turned-politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan's "terrorist" remark on Godse, Pragya said Godse was, is, and will always remain a "deshbhakt".
However, she later apologized for her remark and retracted her statement.
People calling Godse 'terrorist' should instead look within: Pragya
"Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt, is a deshbhakt, and will remain a deshbhakt. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections," Pragya said.
BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao, however, said, "BJP does not agree with this statement, we condemn it. Party will ask her for clarification, she should apologize publicly for this..."
Here's what Pragya said in response to Haasan's remarks
#WATCH BJP Bhopal Lok Sabha Candidate Pragya Singh Thakur says 'Nathuram Godse was a 'deshbhakt', is a 'deshbhakt' and will remain a 'deshbhakt'. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections pic.twitter.com/4swldCCaHK
Referring to Godse, Haasan said that "free India's first terrorist was a Hindu" while addressing an election rally in Tamil Nadu's Aravakurichi on Sunday and invited the BJP's ire.
The MNM founder also said that he was one of those "proud Indians" who want a country with equality where the three colors of the tricolor, which represents different faiths, "remained intact".
Free India's first terrorist was Godse: Haasan
At the rally, Haasan said, "I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Free India's first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it (terrorism, apparently) starts."
'Country will never forgive Pragya,' says Congress spokesperson
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala slammed Pragya, saying that she has insulted Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, once again.
"The country will never forgive Sadhvi Pragya for her statement on Nathuram Godse," he said.
Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah also hit out at her, saying, "If the killer of the father of the nation is a patriot does that make Mahatma Gandhi anti-national?"
Glorifying Godse is not patriotism, it is sedition: Digvijaya Singh
Congress's Bhopal candidate, Digvijaya Singh said, "Modi ji, Amit Shah ji, and the state BJP should give their statements and apologize to the nation. I condemn this statement. Nathuram Godse was a killer, glorifying him is not patriotism, it is sedition."