- BJP's Pragya Thakur's comments on Godse in parliament expunged
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh condemned her on record in Lok Sabha
- Pragya Thakur, 2008 Malegaon blasts accused, out on bail and faces trial
BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur was removed from the consultative committee of the defence ministry on Thursday and banned from attending parliamentary meetings of the ruling party a day after she described Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a patriot in parliament. A repeat offender, Pragya Thakur has done it before but this time, the outrageous comments were made in Lok Sabha.
But the BJP is under increasing pressure to expel the saffron-robed politician who calls herself a Sadhvi and is known for shooting her mouth off.
"Not just calling Godse a deshbhakt (patriot), but we condemn even such thinking. Mahatma Gandhi's ideology is relevant now as much as it was before," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, condemning his party MP on record in Lok Sabha today.
The BJP had also denounced the remarks and declared that Pragya Thakur would be dropped from the parliamentary committee on defence headed by Rajnath Singh. "We have decided that Pragya Singh Thakur will be removed from the consultative committee of defence, and in this session she will not be allowed to participate in BJP parliamentary party meetings," said BJP's working president JP Nadda, adding that the BJP didn't support the MP's statement or ideology.
The Congress said it would bring a censure motion. "They (BJP) gave her ticket & brought her to the parliament, what will happen by not allowing her in parliamentary party meetings? She should not be allowed to sit in parliament till she apologises, we will demand a censure motion," said Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.
But Pragya Thakur claimed in a tweet that she had only reacted to an insult to revolutionary Udham Singh. "Storm of lies becomes so big at times that even day appears to be night but the sun does not lose its light. People should not be swayed by this storm. Truth is that I did not tolerate insult to Udham Singh yesterday," she tweeted in Hindi.
The first-time MP from Bhopal made the Godse comment during a discussion on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday, when DMK's A Raja was referring to a statement by Mahatma Gandhi's assassin in court. As protests erupted in the house, BJP members asked Pragya Thakur to sit down.
Later, pressed to clarify her remarks, Pragya Thakur told reporters, "Listen to what I said first. I'd reply tomorrow."
Speaker Om Birla said the comments have been expunged.
"Terrorist Pragya calls terrorist Godse a patriot. A sad day in the history of India's parliament," tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Congress MPs walked out of Lok Sabha in protest.
There were protests and much social media debate after Pragya Thakur was last week listed among the 21 members of the parliamentary consultative committee on Defence, which is tasked with debating key policy decisions. The BJP had said that the first-time MP can help in "framing right methodology" so that innocents are not "victimised" the way she was by the Congress-led government.
Pragya Thakur, a 2008 Malegaon blasts accused, is out on bail and is facing trial for charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
She had been berated earlier this year by her party when she called Nathuram Godse a patriot during the national election campaign. "Nathuram Godse was a 'deshbhakt', is a 'deshbhakt' and will remain a 'deshbhakt'," she had said.
Confronting massive backlash, the BJP publicly condemned her remarks and Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: "These kinds of statements made about Gandhi-ji are condemnable and cannot be allowed in civilised society. She may have apologised, but I shall never forgive her."