"They are disparaging the national movement. If PM and the BJP government are sincere about 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, we demand that PM comes to Parliament and clarifies his position," Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said.
The Congress hit out at the ruling BJP on Monday over its leader Anantkumar Hegde’s remarks against the Mahatma Gandhi-led freedom movement, saying a sedition case should be slapped against the former Union minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi must apologise for it. The opposition party demanded that the prime minister must come to Parliament and clarify his position on Hegde’s “objectionable” remarks, and asserted that it was time for Modi to prove whether his loyalty was towards Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse or the Father of the Nation. Questioning the freedom movement led by Gandhi, Hegde said it was an “adjustment” with the British. “They are disparaging the national movement. If the prime minister and the BJP government are sincere about the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, we demand that the PM comes to Parliament and clarifies his position,” Congress’s senior spokesperson Anand Sharma told a press conference.
“They are desperate for elections and only to get some votes, they are inflicting deep wounds on the soul of India,” he said. Asserting that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP’s statement was condemnable, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the leaders of the saffron party could afford to call the freedom movement a drama as they never fought for the country’s independence and made any sacrifices. “Such statements reveal their true mindset that they use Gandhi’s name just for show and have no regard for him,” he said. Demanding Hegde’s expulsion from the BJP, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said it was time for the prime minister to prove whether his loyalty was towards Godse or Gandhi.
“The prime minister did not take action against Pragya Thakur, who continues to insult Mahatma Gandhi on a daily basis, and now, Anantkumar Hegde has joined the ‘hate bapu’ chorus. The prime minister’s love for Gandhi exists only in advertisements and on the ground, ‘hate Mahatma Gandhi’ seems to be the tool to mobilise his cadres. “If the prime minister has even an ounce of respect for Gandhi, he should remove Thakur and Hegde from the party. It is time for the prime minister to prove whether his loyalty is towards Godse or Gandhi,” he said. Modi should apologise for Hegde’s remarks, a sedition case should be slapped on the former Union minister and both Thakur and he should be removed from the BJP, Shergill demanded. “If the prime minister does not take action as usual or takes patchwork action, then India will know that the PM stands with the killers of Gandhi,” he said.
Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also took a dig at the BJP over Hegde’s remarks, wondering how could those who believed in “kattagraha” (the rule of pistols) accept “satyagraha”. “This is Modi’s Bharat, where Bapu’s thoughts and the path he walked on are attacked everyday. Will Modi ji take action against Anant Hegde? Otherwise, it will be proven that the voice was of Hegde, but the idea was of ??Modi ji?,” he said in a tweet. Earlier, reacting to Hegde’s remarks, Sharma said there could not be a greater insult to India’s national movement and those who sacrificed everything to give the country freedom. “The prime minister, the BJP leadership as a whole has to apologise for these things,” he said.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted, saying, “Anant Kumar Hegde is perhaps reflecting the views of his masters. If he is not, his comments should invite the strictest possible action from his party. “Those who sacrificed their lives and worked towards big change in the country were dumped in the dark corners of history, but those who fought in adjustment with the British became freedom fighters with certificates…. This is the tragedy of the country,” Hegde said in his remarks.