An unrelenting opposition forced Bharatiya Janata Party’s Pragya Thakur, under flak for haling Nathuram Godse, to apologise in Lok Sabha for a second time on Friday after rejecting her first apology as ‘conditional’ in which she also attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for calling her a ‘terrorist’.
Tendering her second apology in Lok Sabha following a meeting Speaker Om Birla held with floor leaders of all parties, the Bhopal MP said,”On November 27, during discussion on SPG (Amendment) Bill, I did not call Nathuram Godse a patriot (desh bhakt), I did not even take his name. Still if someone is hurt, I express my regret and apologise.”
Before she entered the House, the Speaker had said that Thakur would read out the statement agreed upon at the meeting of leaders of different parties.
She began her statement by referring to her enemies but was interrupted by the Speaker.
She then read out the statement as decided upon earlier, paving the way for normal business to resume.
Her first apology was panned by opposition parties for its reference to other issues, as they insisted on an unconditional apology.
Thakur had created a row on Wednesday with her remark in the Lower House during Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member A Raja’s narration of a statement by Godse before a court on why he killed Gandhi.
The BJP swung to control the damage on Thursday with disciplinary action as it sacked her from a consultative committee on defence, and also barred her from attending its parliamentary party meeting during the ongoing session.
The Congress led the opposition charge against her with Gandhi accusing her of being a ‘terrorist’ and claiming that her comments represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the saffron party and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Though the House had functioned on Thursday after senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh said his party condemns any philosophy which describes Gandhi’s killer as a patriot but opposition parties insisted on an apology from her on Friday.
Thakur had not attended the House proceedings on Thursday.
Her first apology, however, did not go down well with the opposition as she targeted Gandhi without naming him and also claimed that her comments were twisted.
“If my comments have hurt in anyway, I regret and seek apology. But, my comments in the House have been misrepresented and twisted,” she said, without taking Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Godse’s name.
She added that she respects and pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi for his contribution to the country.
Thakur also said, “One member has publicly termed me as a terrorist, though I have not been convicted by the court … it is an insult to a woman and a sadhvi,” and added that making such remarks too was against the law.
Thakur is an accused in the Malegaon blast case.
Meanwhile, BJP member Nishikant Dubey urged the Speaker to allow a privilege motion against Gandhi for accusing a sitting MP of being a ‘terrorist’.
Unsatisfied with the apology, the Congress protested and shouted slogans while demanding her suspension from the House.
Congress members stormed into Lok Sabha’s Well, shouting slogans like ‘Godse party down down’ and ‘Mahatama Gandhi ki jai’.
Later, when the Speaker allowed Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to speak, the Congress leader said Thakur’s remarks have not only hurt India, but the entire world as Mahatama Gandhi was not only a father of the nation but a global icon.
Chowdhury asserted that Thakur should tender an unconditional and unqualified apology in the House which the entire country deserves.
Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Patel rejected his criticism against the BJP as he referred to Rajnath Singh’s statement and how the saffron party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have celebrated Gandhi’s contributions and taken measures to spread his ideals.
Outside Parliament, Rahul Gandhi brushed aside Thakur’s attack on her and asserted that he stood by his remarks accusing her of being a ‘terrorist’.
He said he was ready to face any action.
He also claimed that Thakur believes in violence, the way Nathuram Godse did.
“Yes, I stand by my statement. What I have written on Twitter, I stand by it. Yes,” he told reporters when asked if he stood by his statement against Thakur.
Asked about BJP calling for action against him for his remarks, Gandhi said, “That’s ok. There’s no problem. Whatever they want to do, I’ll welcome.”
The Congress leader said what Thakur says what she believes in.
“I don’t agree with her, but she believes in it,” Gandhi said and added that Godse also used violence and she also believes in violence.
Cong leader files sedition complaint against Pragya
Meanwhile, a Congress leader in Indore on Friday lodged a complaint of sedition against Thakur over her remarks.
Congress leader Devendra Singh Yadav lodged the complaint at Pandrinath Police Station, in which he said that Thakur’s remarks on Godse attract sedition charge.
This comes a day after some Congress workers here lodged a similar complaint against Thakur at Central Kotwali Police Station.
Pandrinath Police Station in-charge Kamlesh Sharma said the complaint against Thakur would be sent to an appropriate forum for further legal action.
Top police officials said they were looking into the legal aspects of both the complaints against Thakur.
So far, no first information report has been filed on the basis of these complaints.
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