The Congress leader accused the BJP of doing politics in the name of Gandhi and appropriating his and Nehru’s legacy.
New Delhi: Left red-faced after its Bhopal MP and Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur’s praise for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a patriot, the BJP on Thursday barred her from attending its parliamentary party meetings for the Winter Session and removed her from the parliamentary consultative committee on defence.
Ms Thakur’s controversial statement on Wednesday even led to vociferous protests by the Opposition in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, forcing defence minister Rajnath Singh to condemn her remarks. In a statement in the Lower House, Mr Singh said his party condemns any such views and added Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy was, is and will always remain the party’s guiding light.
Opposition MPs, led by the Congress, TMC, DMK and even AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, dissatisfied with the defence minister’s response, staged a walkout.
As soon as the House met, the Opposition members stood up and strongly protested against the remarks made by Ms Thakur on Wednesday on Godse in the debate on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill.
Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Bhopal MP had called Godse a patriot and the Congress a “terrorist party” (a remark which was later expunged by the Speaker Om Birla). “Thousands of members of the Congress laid down their lives while serving the nation. How can she dare to say such things, that too inside the House? We demand action,” he said.
The Congress leader accused the BJP of doing politics in the name of Gandhi and appropriating his and Nehru’s legacy. Mr Chowdhury said it was because of the BJP’s ideology that Ms Thakur could make such comments.
The Congress leader was backed by MPs belonging to the Trinamul Congress, DMK, Left parties, NCP and AIMIM.
Speaker Om tried to pacify the agitating Opposition MPs and said he would give his ruling, asking them to take their seats. TMC leader Saugata Roy and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi told the Speaker that they should also be given an opportunity to speak.
The Speaker, however, said the remarks of Ms Thakur were already expunged from the record and there was no scope for any debate.
Notwithstanding the Prime Minister’s warning that he “will never forgive” her for insulting Mahatma Gandhi after the Bhopal MP made a similar remark campaigning during the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, she repeated the comments in Parliament on Wednesday.
Her remarks left the party embarrassed and gave rise to speculation on whether she would be suspended from the party this time, or some other action will be taken against her, as her candidature in Bhopal was apparently backed by the RSS.
After facing flak from across the political spectrum over Ms Thakur’s controversial remarks, the BJP tried to distance itself from the controversy. “The BJP never supports such statements and we do not support this ideology. We have decided Ms Thakur will not attend meetings of the BJP parliamentary party during the session,” said BJP working president J.P. Nadda.
However, after the BJP removed her from the defence consultative committee and barred her from attending its parliamentary party meetings for the rest of the Winter Session, the controversial MP tweeted her clarification insisting that her comment in the Lok Sabha were against the “insult” to revolutionary Udham Singh.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said her remarks represent the “heart and soul” of the BJP and its ideological mentor RSS. He later tweeted that “Terrorist Pragya calls terrorist Godse a patriot. A sad day in the history of India’s Parliament”.