- BJP MP said struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi was "staged drama"
- BJP has told Anantkumar Hegde to put out an unconditional apology
- BJP's top leadership is upset with Mr Hegde: Sources
The ruling BJP has asked its MP Anantkumar Hegde to put out an unconditional apology for his remarks describing the freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi as "staged drama". The former Union Minister from Karnataka had made several derogatory comments on Gandhi's role at a public meeting on the weekend and commented that his "blood boiled" that "such people came to be called Mahatma".
Sources say the BJP's top leadership is upset with Mr Hegde, a serial offender, and has berated him, telling him that his comments are unacceptable.
The entire freedom movement was "staged with the consent and support of the British", Mr Hegde had said on Saturday at a public event in Bengaluru.
"None of these so-called leaders were beaten up by the cops even once. Their independence movement was one big drama. It was staged by these leaders with the approval of the British. It was not a genuine fight. It was an adjustment freedom struggle," the six-time MP had said.
"People supporting Congress keep saying that India got independence because of the fast unto death and satyagraha. This is not true. The British did not leave the country because of satyagraha. Britishers gave independence out of frustration. My blood boils when I read history. Such people become Mahatma in our country," he had railed.
The MP from Uttara Kannada, a minister in the previous government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was dropped when the BJP was re-elected to power last year.
BJP leaders have disassociated the party from the comments, which have been denounced by the opposition as well as Mahatma Gandhi's grandson.
Senior BJP leader Jagdambika Pal said, "The whole world knows about Gandhi and it may be his personal opinion."
Union Minister Ashwani Choubey said Mr Hegde "should not have made the comment", that Gandhi is a well-respected figure in the nation.
Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Tushar Gandhi tweeted: "Hegde is correct in saying Bapu's Freedom Fight was a drama. It was so intense that it opened the eyes of the British to their immoral colonisation and enslavement of India."