BJP snubs Pragya's 'patriotic' act

This is not the first time that Thakur has courted controversy because of her comments on Godse. During the Lok Sabha election campaign, Thakur had described Godse as a patriot, triggering a huge political storm. Photo/PTI

Cracking the whip, BJP on Thursday removed lawmaker Pragya Singh Thakur from the consultative committee on defence and barred her from attending key party meetings, a day after she courted controversy yet again by calling Nathuram Godse a “patriot”.

Pragya's remarks and her strong defence put the BJP on the back foot, even as the opposition went ballistic against her by dubbing her as a “terrorist” and deciding to move a motion in the Lok Sabha to censure her for the euologising the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi.

As political leaders reacted with shock and anger over Pragya's glorification of Godse, BJP leaders also rushed to condemn her remarks. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP Working President J P Nadda said they denounced any philosophy that described Godse as a “patriot”.

Nadda also announced that the party had recommended the removal Pragya, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bombings, from the Consultative Committee on Defence, an appointment that had already created a furore.

“We have also decided that Thakur will not attend meetings of the BJP Parliamentary Party during the ongoing session,” Nadda told reporters here.

The BJP action came as opposition leaders lashed out at Pragya as well as the BJP, reminding the ruling party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks during the Lok Sabha campaign that he would never be able to forgive her for eulogising Godse as a patriot.

“Terrorist Pragya calls terrorist Godse, a patriot. A sad day in the history of India's Parliament,” former Congress President Rahul Gandhi said.

“What Pragya Thakur is saying is the heart of the BJP and the RSS... This cannot be hidden … it will come out somehow. No matter how much that they worship Gandhiji, this is their soul,” he told reporters outside Parliament.

Pragya took to Twitter to clarify that he had hailed Udham Singh as a patriot and not Godse, but the clarification did not get any traction. “Storm of lies becomes so big at times that even day appears to be night but the Sun does not lose its light. People should not be swayed by this storm. Truth is that I did not tolerate insult to Udham Singh yesterday,” she said.

A united opposition lodged strong protests in the Lok Sabha and staged a walkout expressing dissatisfaction over Rajnath Singh's failure to give any clear assurance to the House on action against Pragya.

Congress and other constituents of the UPA are set to move a censure motion in Lok Sabha against Pragya for her “unwarranted remarks”.

“...The member is requested to withdraw from the service of the house and is required to tender a formal apology before she is readmitted,” the motion that is set to be moved read.

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