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‘Patriot’ is back with a disclaimer

Pragya Thakur had earlier called the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi a patriot
Pragya Singh Thakur waves at her supporters while campaigning in Bhopal

TT Bureau   |   New Delhi   |   Published 27.11.19, 09:29 PM

BJP parliamentarian Pragya Singh Thakur was on Wednesday accused of referring to Nathuram Godse as a “patriot” in the Lok Sabha.

Thakur had earlier called the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi a patriot, and apologised after a controversy.

On Wednesday, during a debate on the SPG bill, the DMK’s A. Raja had referred to the threat Godse had posed to the Mahatma.

“Deshbhakton ka udaharan nahi denge aap (You cannot give the example of patriots),” Thakur was heard saying from the backbenches.

Later, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said Thakur did not take the name of Godse and her objection was to a reference to freedom fighter Udham Singh.

The Opposition protested, and many BJP MPs were seen asking Thakur to sit down. Speaker Om Birla too tried to control the situation.

While opposing the government’s proposal to remove the SPG cover of the Nehru-Gandhi family members, Raja talked about the threat perception to leaders and in this context he recalled how Godse had killed Mahatma Gandhi. Raja said Godse himself admitted he had nursed a grudge against Gandhi for 32 years before finally deciding to assassinate him. Godse killed Gandhi because he believed in a particular philosophy, Raja said.

It was at this point that Thakur, an accused in Malegaon blasé case, interrupted him. The interruption is unlikely to go in the official record of the House.

Thakur later told reporters outside that she would clarify on Thursday. “Listen to the whole thing first. I will reply tomorrow,” she said on Wednesday.

Parliamentary affairs minister Joshi told the news agency ANI: “She did not take the name of Godse or anyone else. There is nothing on record like that. It is not right to simply spread news like that. Her mic was not on. She made the objection when the name of Udham Singh was being taken. She has explained this and told me personally.”

Asked about the minister’s version, Raja said: “It’s a gross lie. She reacted when I was giving the example of Godse. But I think her reaction will not go in the record.”

Raja said he was citing the example of Udham Singh and Nathuram Godse to put across the point that threat perception was also based on the policy and philosophy practised by the leader. “Udham Singh was a positive example and Godse a negative example,” Raja said.

“I tried to put across the point that there could be a threat perception to the Gandhi family members due to the policy and philosophy they are upholding and not because they are not Prime Ministers,” Raja said, adding that Godse killed Gandhi because of his secular philosophy.

The DMK opposed the proposal to withdraw the SPG cover from the Nehru-Gandhi family members.

After Thakur had earlier called Godse a patriot, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said he would never be able to forgive her. But no perceptible action had been taken against her, and recently the BJP nominated her to the parliamentary panel on defence.

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