New Delhi, May 16, 2019 : Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, "was a deshbhakt (patriot), is a deshbhakt and will remain one," the BJP’s Pragya Singh Thakur said today, adding to her growing list of controversial statements, NDTV reported.
The saffron-wearing Pragya Thakur, the BJP’s candidate in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, had been asked to respond to an ongoing controversy over south superstar-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, saying that "Godse, the first extremist of independent India, was a Hindu".
The "Sadhvi" who is the main accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast was asked for a response in the context of allegations of "Hindu terror".
"Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt, is a deshbhakt and will remain a deshbhakt. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a fitting reply in the election," Pragya Thakur told reporters.
Condemning her comments, the BJP 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.
Dubbed accused No. 1 in the Malegaon blasts in which six people were killed and more than 100 injured, Pragya Thakur was seen as the face of what was termed Hindu terror during the Congress-led UPA government’s rule.
In a highly polarised campaign in Bhopal, 49-year-old Pragya Thakur made controversial remarks like "cursing" Hemant Karkare, who died fighting terrorists during the 26/11 attacks, and bragging about participating in the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
She was asked by her party to dial down her statements and even banned temporarily from campaigning by the Election Commission.
The BJP has requested action against Kamal Haasan for his comment.
"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 extremist (theevravaadi) was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it starts," Kamal Haasan had said while campaigning in Tamil Nadu on Sunday.
Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, was a member of the Hindu Mahasabha.