As the BJP faces severe backlash over Pragya Singh Thakur's controversial comments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said he will never forgive her for calling Nathuram Godse a true patriot even as the party served showcause notices on its Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate for insulting Mahatma Gandhi.
Modi told a TV channel in Khargone in Madhya Pradesh that Thakur's comments were detrimental to society and the language used by her was not acceptable. "Whatever has been said about Gandhi or Godse, these kind of statements are very bad and worth contempt. In a cultured society, this type of language is not permissible. This type of thinking won't do. "Therefore, those who are doing this have to think a hundred times. Though she has apologised, I won't be able to pardon her with my heart," Modi said, hours before campaigning for the last phase of Lok Sabha polls ended.
At a press conference in Delhi, BJP president Amit Shah in presence of Modi, said the party regrets for the views expressed in praise of Godse by Pragya and two other BJP MPs - Nalinkumar Kateel and Anantkumar Hegde, and that prompt action has been initiated against them. He said BJP's disciplinary committee has issued a notice to the three leaders and has given 10-days time to respond. "We will immediately decide on appropriate action on them," Shah said.
During a roadshow on Thursday, Thakur, BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate and Malegaon blast accused, lauded Godse as a "patriot", sparking an outrage from the Opposition. Hours later, she issued an apology. A BJP leader in Bhopal said Thakur was asked by the party to stay away from a scheduled road show on Friday, the last day of the Lok Sabha poll campaign.
As the row over Thakur's remarks escalated, BJP's MP from Karnataka Kateel compared Godse with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. "Godse killed one, Kasab killed 72, Rajiv Gandhi killed 17,000. You judge who is more cruel in this??" Kateel tweeted, equating Godse with 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab, and Rajiv Gandhi. Union minister Hegde also found himself in the news with a purported tweet justifying Godse's action. However, later the minister claimed his account was hacked.
"The BJP does not associate with the comments of the three leaders. We not only consider such remarks as personal but also we have issued notices to those responsible and disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against them," Shah said. He asserted that Thakur's candidature from Bhopal is the party's "satyagraha" against fake "saffron" terror case.
"The Congress compromised on the country's security for vote bank politics," he said. "Some people were caught in the Samjhauta Express case, the CBI said these people are associated with the LeT. American agencies also supported this that these people are associated with the LeT. A fake case of saffron terror was made in which all have been acquitted," Shah said. The courts have said that saffron terror is imaginary, he said.
"So, who is responsible for the people released and given Rs 5 lakh compensation and security compromised for vote bank politics. The Congress party is responsible. I demand that the Congress president apologise for defaming Hindu culture and compromising national security," he said. Earlier, in a series of tweets, Shah said the remarks made by Thakur, Hegde and Kateel are against the BJP's ideology, and the party has taken serious note of their statements. Shah also said these comments were their personal statements and had no link with the party.
"They have withdrawn their statements and have also apologised. However, their remarks are against the decorum of public life and the BJP, and also against the party's ideology. "Taking serious note of their remarks, the party has decided to send them to the disciplinary committee," Shah said. Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer has submitted a report to the Election Commission over Thakur's remarks.