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'I Respect Mahatma Ji': After Severe Backlash Over 'Godse a Patriot' Remark, Pragya Thakur Apologises

The Election Commission has also asked the Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer to submit by Friday morning a factual report about the BJP leader's comment.


Updated:May 17, 2019, 10:24 AM IST

New Delhi: After severe backlash over her comment that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse is a patriot, BJP’s Pragya Thakur apologised on Thursday night and said she respects the father of the nation.

“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.

Earlier in the day, Thakur had kicked up a storm after describing Godse as a patriot. Responding to a question on actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s comments that Godse was the “first terrorist of free India”, Thakur said, “Nathuram Godse ek deshbhakt they, hain aur rahenge (Nathuram Godse was a patriot, is a patriot, and will always remain one).”

“Those calling him a terrorist should see inside their own self and a befitting reply would be given to such people in the elections,” Thakur had said while campaigning for her party’s candidate in Agar Malwa in Madhya Pradesh.

Thakur was swiftly rebuked by the BJP, which demanded a public apology from her and condemned the remarks.

"I believe in my organisation, I work for it, and the party's line is my line," Thakur said hours after her remarks led to fierce criticism from the Opposition.

Thakur's main contender in Bhopal, Congress party's Digvijaya Singh, demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and the party's Madhya Pradesh unit chief as well.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Thakur's comments were part of the BJP's conspiracy to scorn and insult the principles laid down by Mahatma Gandhi.

“If the killer of the father of the nation is a patriot does that make Mahatma Gandhi anti-national?," asked National Conference’s Omar Abdullah in a tweet.

Before Thakur tendered the apology, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took a swipe at the BJP for distancing itself from her remarks and dared it to "have the guts" to spell out its stand.

After the outcry, the Election Commission asked the Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer to submit a written report by Friday morning.

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