Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress and the BJP exchanged heated words over Mahatma Gandhi and his assassin Nathuram Godse for the second consecutive day on Saturday in the Odisha Assembly.
The issue was raised for the second day by Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra who asked the BJP members whether they can condemn the people who "worship" Nathuram Godse.
"The Congress has no hesitation to chant Bharat Mata ki Jai and Bande Mataram. I am chanting this in this House. But can my BJP friends condemn people who worship Nathuram Godse?," he asked the saffron party members.
On Friday, Mishra had raised a question on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) respect for the Indian National Flag and the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
"The RSS headquarters had not hoisted tri-colour for 52 years after Independence," the Congress leader had said, adding it had done so only in 1999.
"RSS former chief M S Golwalkar in his book 'Bunch of Thoughts' has written something critical about Mahatma Gandhi which will be a dishonour towards the Father of the Nation if I read it in the House. I want to know whether this House should condemn the person who had written such critical words against Mahatma Gandhi ?", he asked.
Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik of the BJP in his reply had said, "We do not dishonour the national flag, everyone respects it ... I do not hoist the tri-colour in my house. Does that mean I dishonour the national flag ?"
He said, "the Congress does not say Bande Mataram. What is wrong in worshipping Mother India? Those who do not respect the Constitution, have no right to stay in India."
Questioning Mishra's aim, he said, "I do not understand why the Congress leader (Mishra) is frequently raising the issue here (Assembly) ... Does he want us to fight among ourselves? Earlier, he had said there is a bid to create one nation, one election, one leader and one religion. What is his intention?".
Speaking on behalf of his party on Satruday, BJP deputy leader in Odisha Assembly B C Sethi said, "I do not understand why the member from Bolangir (Mishra) has been repeatedly raising the Gandhi and Godse issue. These are not related to Odisha. We have a lot of issues like drought and unemployment."
He said Gandhi was not against the RSS but liked it because untouchability was not an issue for it.
"All Indians irrespective of caste were part of the RSS," Sethi claimed and added that even former prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru had no adverse opinion towards the organisation.
Former president Pranab Mukherjee had visited the RSS headquarter despite opposition by some leaders of a "particular political party", he added.
Mukherjee, who had been a Congress leader, had visited the RSS headquarters in Nagpur in June last year. It had triggered a major political slugfest with several Congress leaders criticising his decision.