Pragya Thakur Calls Godse ‘Patriot’, retracts statement after backlash

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BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur on Thursday kicked up a row, as she called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a “patriot” but apologised for it hours later and said she would “follow the party’s line” and the party’s line was her line.

Responding to a question to an ongoing controversy over actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s comments that Godse was the “first extremist of free India”, Thakur said, “Nathuram Godse “was a deshbhakt(patriot), is a deshbhakt and will remain one.

“Those calling him a terrorist should see inside their own self and such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections,” she had said.

The BJP however, condemned Pragya Singh Thakur’s statement and said she should apologise. “BJP does not agree with this statement, we condemn it. Party will ask her for clarification, she should apologise publicly for this statement,” party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.

Addressing an election campaign rally at Tamil Nadu’s Aravakurichi on May 12, Haasan had said that the first extremist in free India was a Hindu.

“I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Independent India’s first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it (terrorism, apparently) starts,” he said.

Congress party hit out at the BJP and said in a tweet, “When you nominate a terror accused as a Lok Sabha candidate can you really expect them to not support other terrorists. By allowing such heinous behaviour BJP has shown they’re not just soft on terrorists but #BJPSupportsTerrorists.”

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also attacked the BJP and said, “Distancing yourself from your candidate is not enough. Nationalistic luminaries of the BJP have the guts to spell out your stand.”

Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in a tweet “If the killer of the father of the nation is a patriot does that make Mahatma Gandhi anti-national?”

“We are on the side of Gandhiji, who won India freedom, and you are on the side of his murderer,” Omar added.