New Delhi: Keeping up with the outrageous claims of the ruling dispensation’s leaders, Ananthkumar Hegde, Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Karnataka on Saturday, February 1, claimed that the freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi was a “staged drama” and that his “blood boiled” when he read history and "such people came to be called Mahatma".
The former Union Minister, who made these remarks at a public event in Bengaluru, is no novice to controversy, having previously called Rahul Gandhi a "hybrid-type", saying "his father is a Muslim, mother a Christian and he himself a Brahmin" just before the 2019 Loksabha Elections.
Addressing the gathering in Bengaluru, Hegde said that the entire freedom movement was "staged with the consent and support of the British", news agency ANI reported. He added that "None of these so-called leaders were beaten up by the cops even once. Their independence movement was one big drama. It was staged by these leaders with the approval of the British. It was not a genuine fight. It was an adjustment freedom struggle.”
Not only that, the BJP leader ridiculed Mahatma Gandhi’s hunger strike and satyagraha saying,
"People supporting Congress keep saying that India got independence because of the fast unto death and satyagraha. This is not true. The British did not leave the country because of satyagraha. Britishers gave independence out of frustration. My blood boils when I read history. Such people become Mahatma in our country."
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Hegde’s comments have drawn huge flak from several corners. Tushar Gandhi, Gandhi’s grandson, took Twitter, "Hegde is correct in saying Bapu's freedom fight was a drama. It was so intense that it opened the eyes of the British to their immoral colonisation and enslavement of India."
Meanwhile, Congress leaders have also severely criticised the BJP leader’s comments and have also demanded that a sedition case be slapped against him. Abhishek Singhvi tweeted, "Awaiting Narendra Modi who invokes Mahatma Gandhi at the drop of a hat especially when repackaging his ideas and to gain international credibility to comment on Mr Hegde who is a senior BJP Leader."
The opposition party has also released a statement on Monday demanding the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come to Parliament and clarify his position on Hegde’s "objectionable" remarks on Mahatma Gandhi. "They are disparaging the national movement. If PM and the BJP government are sincere about 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, we demand that PM comes to Parliament and clarifies his position," Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said.
"They are desperate for elections and only to get some votes, they are inflicting deep wounds on the soul of India," he said. The BJP, Sharma said, is practising the politics of violence and polarisation.
A repeat offender, Hegde, who was a minister in the previous government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was dropped when the BJP was re-elected to power last year. He had raked up a controversy in 2019 when he had supported another controversial BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur’s comments on Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse.
In another incident, he had accused former Indian Administrative Service officer S Sasikanth Senthil, of treachery. Senthil had resigned as deputy commissioner of Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district after criticising the Centre’s Kashmir move. He had also declared that "any hand that touches a Hindu girl should not exist."
Previously, addressing a gathering in an event organised by the Brahmana Yuva Parishad in Koppala district on December 25, 2017, Hegde had referred to the Constitution of the country as Ambedkar Smriti. He had said, “Smriti means laws of the land in that particular time. We had Manu Smriti, similarly we had Parashara Smriti and now we have Ambedkar Smriti.” Continuing his speech on the Constitution, he had said, “A few people say the Constitution mentions the word secular, so you have to agree. Because it’s there in the Constitution, we will respect it, but this will change in the near future. The Constitution has changed many times before. We are here and have come to change the Constitution. We will change it.”
(with inputs from PTI)