Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh Congress, which is a divided house, appears to be further divided over Gandhi’s and Godse’s ideology.
The Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on Monday suspended senior party leader Manak Agrawal for six years for opposing the induction of a follower of Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi, into the party.
With an eye on the ensuing municipal corporation election, MPCC chief Kamal Nath has inducted Babulal Chaurasiya, a former corporator from Hindu Mahasabha, who had installed Godse’s statue in Gwalior in 2017 and had announced free distribution of copies of Godse’s last statement in the court, into the party.
However, the induction of a Godse admirer into the Congress irked many senior party leaders who openly opposed the move, including former Union Minister and former MPCC president Arun Yadav and former MP Meenakshi Natrajan. Going a step further, Yadav also opened up a front against Kamal Nath and tweeted a letter he had written against the induction of Chaurasiya.
Like Yadav and Natarajan, Agrawal had also questioned Kamal Nath and had sought a reply on his February 27 tweet: “Kamal Nath should clarify that he is with Gandhi’s ideology or with Godse’s.” Agrawal had said that he was ashamed of this act of the party president and had announced a protest against it.
Agrawal, who has close ties with former chief minister and MP Digvijaya Singh, further tweeted that Kamal Nath’s recent admiration for industrialists Adani and Ambani also proves that he always acted against the Congress party’s ideology.
Terming Agrawal’s comment as “anti-party”, the disciplinary committee of the Madhya Pradesh Congress suspended him on Monday for six years.
“In many internal meetings, party leaders have been told to follow discipline and respect each other. But, Makan chose otherwise and raised question against the party president and also gave anti-party statements,” said KK Mishra, general secretary, Madhya Pradesh Congress.
However, Agrawal, who has served the party for more than 50 years, has claimed that he can’t be expelled from the party since he is a member of the All India Congress Committee.
“The State unit does not have the right to take such action against an AICC member. I’m in the party for more than 50 years and would remain so,” he said, adding that no order had been issued by the AICC.
Chaurasiya’s entry into Congress has also upset senior party leader Laxman Singh, brother of Digvijaya Singh, who tweeted: “Central Jail is the right place for Godse’s followers not Congress party.”
Former Union Minister and MP Shashi Tharoor had also tweeted against Chaurasiya’s entry into the party, while other party MLAs have also expressed their displeasure.
After the issue triggered a controversy, Chaurasiya paid tribute to Gandhi’s statue and claimed he had been “tricked” by fellow Hindu Mahasabha leaders and taken to the 2017 Godse event.
Meanwhile, some Congress leaders have backed Chaurasiya’s entry into the party, including Gwalior South MLA Praveen Pathak, who defended him by saying: “Now he has chosen the path of Gandhi from Godse,” while another senior party leader Bhupendra Gupta said, “Hate the sin, not the sinner.”
Incidentally, the state party has not taken any action against other party leaders who have opposed Kamal Nath’s decision, and has singled out Agrawal.
Taking a dig at Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party’s state secretary Rajneesh Agrawal tweeted: “Gandhi lost in Congress while Godse won.”