Congress Sharpens Protest in Godse Row, Switches to Mahatma Gandhi's Photo on Social Media
New Delhi: Soon after PM Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah concluded the press conference conducted by the BJP on Friday, the Congress lodged a sly protest against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur’s controversial comment where she called Nathuram Godse “a patriot forever”, by changing the profile photo of the party's official handles on Twitter and Facebook to that of the revered Mahatma Gandhi.
This comes days after BJP's Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur, who is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, said, "Nathutam Godse was a deshbhakt (patripot), is a deshbhakt and will remain a deshbhakt forever." Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948.
Pragya's controversial comment drew the ire of her on party veterans who distanced themselves and even rebuked her and demanded an explanation from her. Even as the party was trying to contain the damage, two more leaders — Union Minister Ananthkumar Hegde abd Nalim Kumar Kateel — tweeted in support of Godse just before the last round of voting for the lok sabha elections on Sunday.
Further, condemning Pragya's comments, PM Modi said that he would never forgive her for insulting "Bapu".
Thakur stirred a controversy when she termed Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin a patriot, saying those calling him a terrorist would get a befitting reply in elections. Responding to a question on actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s statement calling Godse the first terrorist of independent India, Thakur said: “Nathuram Godse ek deshbhakt the, hain aur rahenge (Nathuram Godse was a patriot, is a patriot, and will always remain one).”
She added, “Those calling him a terrorist should see inside their own self and a befitting reply would be given to such people in the elections.”
As her remarks created a political flutter, Thakur ultimately relented and apologised. “I apologise for my statement. I respect Mahatma Gandhi ji a lot and he has done a lot for the country,” the party's Bhopal candidate said, adding that she did not intend to hurt anyone's sentiments. Thakur claimed that the media had "twisted' her statement.
This the first time the Prime Minister has come down heavily on Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon Blasts case. Earlier, he endorsed her candidature when the Opposition questioned the rationale of the BJP behind giving her a ticket.
Defending Thakur, PM Modi said she was being defamed by the Congress, which had also insulted Hinduism and its sages. He also recalled the accusations he faced as Gujarat Chief Minister to drive home the point.