Pragya hails ‘patriot’ Godse

BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur courted fresh controversy when she declared that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was a “deshbhakt (patriot)”, leading to the Election Commission seeking a report from the Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer.

Dewas district election officer Ajay Gupta sent the report around 10 pm.

Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon bombing case, was responding to the media seeking her reaction to actor-politician Kamal Haasan’s comment that Godse was free India’s first Hindu terrorist. Her comments on Godse immediately set off a political storm with Congress claiming BJP had fostered a culture of violence and was denigrating freedom struggle icons.

Thakur has been in the midst of controversies ever since BJP nominated her against Congress’s Digvijay Singh. She called Mumbai cop and 26/11 martyr Hemant Karkare a traitor and claimed to have “cursed” him a month before he was shot dead by terrorists. She then said she was “very proud” of her role in the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.

The furore over her latest remarks saw BJP condemning her statement and asking her to apologise and it was late evening when she did so, saying, “The party’s line is my line”.

After her remarks on Karkare, Thakur was banned from campaigning for three days by the Election Commission. BJP leaders warned her to watch her words, and she kept quiet until the Bhopal polls were over.

Now unleashed in Malwa-Nimar region to campaign for BJP, no senior leader was watching over her when a local reporter asked her in Dewas about Kamal Haasan’s remark that Godse was the “first Hindu terrorist”.

“Nathuram Godse was a ‘deshbhakt’ (patriot), is a ‘deshbhakt’ and will remain a ‘deshbhakt’. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within. Such people will be given a befitting reply in this election,” Thakur said.

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