Shah asserted that her candidature is a “satyagrah” against a fake case of “saffron terror”.
New Delhi: With the BJP facing severe criticism over remarks by its leaders on Mahatama Gandhi and his killer Nathuram Godse, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally addressed the issue on Friday saying he will never forgive the party’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur for calling Godse a “true patriot”.
“Though she has apologised, I won’t be able to pardon her from my heart,” said Mr Modi in an interview in Khargone in Madhya Pradesh, hours before campaigning for the last phase of Lok Sabha polls ended.
“Whatever has been said about Mahatma Gandhi or Godse, these statements are very bad and worth contempt. In a cultured society, this type of language is not permissible. This type of thinking won’t do... Therefore, those who are doing this have to think a hundred times,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s criticism of his party colleague came on a day when the BJP served showcause notices on three leaders, including Ms Thakur, and expelled its Madhya Pradesh unit’s spokesperson Anil Saumitra for calling Mahatma Gandhi the “father of the nation of Pakistan”. BJP president Amit Shah, in a statement, said that though the three leaders — Ms Pragya, Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde and party MP Nalin Kateel — have apologised for their statements the party has taken a issue serious view as their statements are against the party’s ideology and ethos. Later addressing a press conference along with the Prime Minister, Mr Shah said the BJP regrets the remarks about Mahatma Gandhi and Godse and has taken prompt action.
Asked about Ms Thakur’s candidature, he said her candidature and her statements are two different issues.
Mr Shas asserted that her candidature is a “satyagrah” against a fake case of “saffron terror”. Ms Thakur is an accused in the Malegaon blast case.
He blamed the Congress for compromising the country’s security for vote bank politics over the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast, saying some people were caught in the case and when the CBI said these people are associated with the LeT and even the US agencies said that these people were associated with the LeT, a fake case of “saffron terror” was made in which all have been acquitted. He said even the courts have said that “saffron terror” is imaginary.
“So, who is responsible for the people released and given `5 lakh compensation and security compromised for vote bank politics? The Congress party is responsible. I demand that the Congress president apologise for defaming Hindu culture and compromising national security,” he said.
Mr Shah said the BJP’s disciplinary committee has issued notices to three leaders and has given them 10 days to respond before deciding on appropriate action on them.
During a roadshow in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, Ms Thakur had said that Godse “was a patriot, is a patriot, and will remain a patriot and those who call him a terrorist should look within, they will get a reply in this election”.
She was responding to a comment made by actor-turned- politician Kaman Haasan, who said Godse was the first Hindu terrorist in independent India.
The Malegaon blast accused later apologised for her statement, claiming that she respected Mahatma Gandhi and his work for the country cannot be forgotten.
Mr Kateel, a BJP MP from Karnataka, had compared Godse with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
“Godse killed one, Kasab killed 72, Rajiv Gandhi killed 17,000. You judge who is more cruel in this?” Mr Kateel had tweeted on Thursday, equating Godse with 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab and Rajiv Gandhi.
Union minister Anantkumar Hegde also found himself in the news with a purported tweet justifying Godse’s action.
Keep yourself updated on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 with our round-the-clock coverage -- breaking news, updates, analysis et al. Happy reading.