Damage control: Amit Shah distances BJP from comments by Ananth Hegde, Pragya Thakur and Nalin Kateel

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New Delhi | Published: May 17, 2019 2:04:37 PM

On Thursday, Sadhvi Pragya stirred up a controversy by claiming that Mahatma Gandhi's killer Nathuram Godse was a true nationalist.

amit shah, sadhvi pragya thakur, lok sabha elections, lok sabha elections 2019Amit Shah (ANI)

Stung by the controversy over a series of remarks by some of its leaders on Mahatma Gandhi and his assassin Nathuram Godse barely hours before campaigning for the seventh and final phase of elections comes to a halt, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah had to personally intervene to contain the damage. The BJP while distancing itself from recent statements of Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Nalin Kateel, said opinions made by them were their personal views and the party had nothing to do with. It further said that while they have taken back their statements, the party has taken a serious view of their statements.

“Statements of Ananth Kumar Hegde, Pragya Thakur and Nalin Kateel are their personal opinion, BJP has nothing to do with it. They have withdrawn their statements and apologized. BJP has taken their statements seriously and sent these statements to the disciplinary committee,” BJP president Amit Shah said.

On Thursday, Sadhvi Pragya stirred up a controversy by claiming that Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse was a true nationalist. Hegde, on the other hand, jumped into the controversy by tweeting in her support. “Am glad that 7 decades later today’s generation debates in a changed perceptional environment and gives good scope for the condemned to be heard upon. #NathuramGodse would have finally felt happy with this debate!” Hegde had tweeted. His tweet was later deleted and the minister responded saying that his Twitter handle had been breached.

Also read: Kamal Haasan defends his Godse remark, says ‘all religions have their extremists’

Another BJP leader, Naleen Kumar Kateel came out in support of Thakur by comparing Godse with former PM Rajiv Gandhi, who had been at the centre of debate during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. “Godse killed one, Kasab killed 72, Rajiv Gandhi killed 17,000. You judge who is more cruel in this??” he tweeted. This tweet was also deleted later.

The statements come in response days after MNM chief Kamal Haasan had called Godse as the first terrorist of free India for killing Mahatma Gandhi. Thakur responded saying Godse was a patriot, triggering a controversy. Following her statement, the BJP reprimanded her and asked her to apologise, which she later did.

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