Triggering a new controversy, BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur on Thursday called Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse a "deshbhakt" (patriot), triggering an immediate denunciation from her own party.
"Nathuram Godse was a 'deshbhakt', is a 'deshbhakt' and will remain a 'deshbhakt'. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within. Such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections," she said.
On being asked whether she supported Godse, Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, refused to comment. She also did not answer queries on "saffron terror".
The Sadhvi's comments came in reaction to noted actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam President Kamal Haasan's recent statement calling Godse the first Hindu terrorist of independent India. "The first terrorist post-Independence was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu. It started from there. He killed Mahatma Gandhi," Haasan had said.
After her statement stirred a controversy, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) condemned it and asked her to tender a public apology for the contentious remark.
"We completely disagree with her statement and strongly condemn it. The BJP will ask her why she made such a statement. It would be proper for her to tender a public apology for this objectionable statement," BJP spokesperson G.V.L. Narsimha Rao told reporters at the party headquarters.
It is not the first controversy that Thakur has been embroiled in. She had earlier said Maharashtra ATS officer Hemant Karkare, who had interrogated her in the Malegaon case and later died during the 26/11 attack, had died due to her "curse" and she was happy at her role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Her comments had earned her a 72-hour-long ban on campaigning ahead of the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat poll on May 12.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)