New Delhi: BJP member Pragya Thakur referred to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "deshbhakt" during a debate in Lok Sabha, triggering a protest by opposition members.
When DMK member A Raja cited a statement of Godse on why he killed Mahatma Gandhi during a discussion on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, Thakur interrupted and said, "You cannot give example of a deshbhakt." Raja said that Godse himself admitted that he had nursed a grudge against Gandhi for 32 years before finally deciding to assassinate him.
Godse, Raja said, killed Gandhi because he believed in a particular philosophy.
While the opposition members protested the interruption by Thakur, the BJP members persuaded her to sit down. After which, the Speaker said only A Raja's statement will be taken on record.
Later, during the course of discussion on the Bill, Gaurav Gogoi of the Congress said that a member in the House has said that Nathuram Godse was a patriot and the member should apologise for the remark.
Even during the Lok Sabha election campaign, Thakur had described Godse as a patriot, triggering a huge political storm.
Later, she had apologised for her statement.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the campaign, had said, "The remarks made about Gandhiji or Nathuram Godse are very bad and very wrong for society.... She has sought an apology but I would never be able to forgive her fully."
"Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt, he is and will remain a deshbhakt. Those calling him a terrorist should instead look at themselves. They will be given a befitting reply in this election," the controversial leader had said while attending a roadshow.
She was replying to a question over actor-politician Kamal Haasan's remark that independent India's first "extremist was a Hindu", a reference to Godse.
The had BJP immediately got into damage control and distanced itself from Thakur's statement and asked her to tender a public apology.