Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah over party's Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Singh Thakur's remark that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was a "patriot".
Speaking to media at Ujjain, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said, "Narendra Modi ji, Amit Shah ji and BJP leaders from Madhya Pradesh should apologise to the country. I condemn the words used against the Father of the Nation. Nathuram Godse was a killer and eulogising him is not patriotism, but an anti-national act".
Earlier in the day, Pragya Singh Thakur, who is an accused in 2008 Malegaon blast case, kicked up a fresh row, calling Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi a "patriot". Speaking to a news channel during an election campaign at Agar Malwa in Madhya Pradesh, she said, "Nathuram Godse was a ‘deshbhakt’ (patriot), he is and will remain a ‘deshbhakt’...".
Hours later, Pragya apologised for her statement after recieving widespread backlash from both the opposition as well as her party. "Pragyaji has apologised for her statement," BJP leader and Thalur's spokesperson Dr Hitesh Bajpai told PTI.
The Madhya Pradesh BJP also distanced itself from her statement saying it did not agree with her, as "Mahatma Gandhi's killer cannot be a patriot". Pragya’s 'Godse a patriot remark' comes on the heels of actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan’s recent statement that free India's first terrorist was a "Hindu", in reference to Nathuram Godse.
In April, the BJP had fielded Pragya from the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat against Congress leader Digvijay Singh, projecting her as a "victim" of the UPA government's "fake Hindu terror" theory. Bhopal went to polls in sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 12. The counting of votes for seven-phase Lok Sabha elections will be taken up on May 23.