- Pragya Thakur had called Mahatma Gandhi's assassin a "patriot"
- BJP had condemned her statement and asked her to give a public apology
- The Bhopal candidate is an accused in the Malegaon blasts
Under fire from her own party, the BJP's Pragya Thakur has apologised for her controversial statement that Mahatma Gandhi's killer Nathuram Godse is a "patriot" after it sparked a political storm. The BJP candidate from Bhopal stopped short of an apology twice but appeared to give in after pressure from the BJP ahead of the final round of voting on Sunday.
"I apologise to the people of the country for my statements on Nathuram Godse. My statement was absolutely wrong. I have huge respect for the father of the nation, Mahatama Gandhi," Pragya Thakur tweeted in Hindi late last night.
The election officer at Agar Malwa district in Madhya Pradesh has given a report to the state Election Commission on Pragya Thakur's statement.
Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, "was a deshbhakt (patriot), is a deshbhakt and will remain one," the Pragya Singh Thakur had said on Thursday, adding to her growing list of controversial statements.
Amid wide condemnation, even from the BJP, the Lok Sabha election contender who is accused in a terror case, later claimed that she would "follow the party's line".
The BJP had condemned her statement and asked her to give a public apology.
"It was my personal opinion. My intention was not to hurt anyone's sentiments. If I've hurt anyone I do apologise. What Gandhi ji has done for the country cannot be forgotten. My statement has been twisted by the media," Pragya Thakur had told news agency ANI.
The saffron-wearing Pragya Thakur made the controversial remarks when she was asked about an ongoing controversy over superstar-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, saying that "Godse, the first extremist of independent India, was a Hindu".
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi attacked the BJP, saying just disowning Pragya Thakur's comment was not enough. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath said legal action should be taken against the 49-year-old.
The "Sadhvi" is an accused in the Malegaon blasts - in which six people were killed and more than 100 injured - and is out on bail.
Soon after joining the BJP, she had made controversial remarks like "cursing" police officer Hemant Karkare, who died fighting terrorists during the 26/11 attacks, and bragging about participating in the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
She was asked by her party to dial down her statements and even banned temporarily from campaigning by the Election Commission.
Pragya Thakur is contesting the Lok Sabha polls against former chief minister and Congress candidate Digvijay Singh.
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