Bhopal: Malegoan blast-accused and Member of Parliament from Bhopal constituency, Pragya Singh Thakur, yet again raked up a controversy by claiming that Nathuram Godse, assassin of M K Gandhi, was a patriot.
When asked why she was missing from the 42-day long ‘Gandhi Sankalp Yatra’ organised by her own party (Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP) to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Thakur said on Wednesday that she believed in following the path shown by Gandhi ‘instead of publicising it’.
“The Congress only cashed in on Gandhi’s name for political benefits, but never followed his ideals. Congress will never have empathy for anybody, whether it’s Gandhi or Godse. They cannot reach up to the ideal of Gandhi, or the ideology and ‘patriotism of even Godse’.They play with public feelings for political gains,” she said.
After calling Godse a patriot again, Thakur, who had earned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ire for praising Godse as a “deshbhakt” during the Lok Sabha polls, praised the PM. “The day he took the office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji has been following his ideals and propagating Gandhi ji's teachings. And the changes are clearly visible across the country,” Thakur was quoted as saying by the Times of India on Wednesday.
During the Lok Sabha election campaigning in Agar-Malwa district of Madhya Pradesh, the BJP MP had called Godse a patriot. Her statement had kicked up a row across the country. Days after her statement on May 17, PM Modi said, “Will never forgive Pragya Thakur for insulting Gandhi.”
Later on, she apologised for her statement, but the then BJP president, Amit Shah had claimed that the issue has been referred to the party’s internal disciplinary committee to review her statement and take action. Six months on, no action has been taken so far.
Also read: Elections 2019: What the SC Should Do About Pragya Thakur’s Candidature
To mark 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, the state BJP unit had observed ‘Gandhi Sankalp Yatra’ from October 2 to November 12—launching campaigns for plastic-free city, de-addiction and self-dependence among youth, plantation, blood donation and cleanliness drives. However, Thakur was seen missing from the programmes. Her absence gave ammunition to the Congress leaders, who then launched a scathing attack on her.
On Wednesday, Congress leader and Labour Minister Mahendra Singh Sidodia said: “There are several people like Pragya Singh Thakur who worship Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse. They do not follow Gandhi ji but, display their double face for obvious reasons.”
Pragya hit back and said, “It’s evident that we (BJP), and not Congress, followed the path shown by great personalities who sacrificed everything for us. I am a sanyasin (ascetic) and patriotism has been in my blood from [my] birth. But we do not publicise our work. We do not indulge in fake propaganda like Congress.”
“We do not want any certificate [to say] that we believe in Gandhi. We won’t forget what he has done for the country. We follow his ideology, but do not indulge in propaganda. I am unwell and could not attend a single function during the Gandhi Yatra. I wanted to recover fast, but my health worsened. I want to recover quickly now so that I can attend the winter session of Parliament,” said Pragya.
Coming down heavily on BJP MP, senior journalist Shahroz Afridi said that her love for Gandhi’s assassin is not hidden. “We have already seen it during the Parliamentary elections. She distanced herself from ‘Gandhi Sankalp Yatra’ because she admire Godse. Her party, too, has affection for Godse, else the disciplinary committee would have taken action against her after PM Modi’s statement against her.”
Also read: Godse Comes Alive To Haunt BJP In Its Hour Of Glory