BJP MP Pragya Thakur is getting flak for purportedly calling Mahatma Gandhi's murderer, Nathuram Godse a "deshbhakt" in Lok Sabha.
But contradictory reports exist of the incident.
While Prahlad Joshi, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister says that Pragya Thakur had not mentioned Nathuram Godse by name on the floor of the house, she was nonetheless barred by the BJP from attending all Parliamentary Party meetings for the rest of the Winter session on Thursday.
The BJP has also recommended that Thakur be dropped from a key parliamentary panel, the Consultative Committee of the Defence Ministry.
The incident took place during a discussion of the Special Protection Group (SPG) Amendment Bill, 2019. When DMK MP and former union minister A. Raja referred Gandhi assassination in his speech while making his point on SPG (amendment) bill, 2019.
Thakur reportedly interrupted to say, "You cannot give example of a deshbhakt."
Prahlad Joshi says that Pragya Thakur had not mentioned Nathuram Godse by name on the floor of the house, reported The Free Press Journal's Nimish Kumar.
"She made objection when the name of Udham Singh was being taken," he said.
Pragya Thakur concurs. She claimed that she was referring to Udham Singh.
DMK leader A Raja had referred to a statement made by Godse during the discussion on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha when Thakur interrupted him.
Speaking to ANI Thakur said that Raja during the discussion in the House had tried to portray all patriots as the enemy of the state and terrorists.
"The topic that was discussed was of security and A Raja spoke about 'deshbhakt' Udham Singh. He said that Udham Singh nursed a grudge against General Dyer of Jallianwala Bagh massacre for 20 years before killing him. When Raja went on speaking, I interrupted to say that he should not take patriot's name- 'Deshbhakto ka naam mat lijiye'," explained Thakur.
Thakur claimed that the statement was not meant for Godse. "This was not for Nathuram Godse. I interrupted him when he named Udham Singh. Then the Speaker asked me to sit down and I obeyed. However, A Raja continued his speech and spoke about Nathuram Godse in the same way. I did not interrupt him then," said Thakur while explaining the turn of the events.
On the other hand, on Thursday BJP working president JP Nadda said, "The statement given by Pragya Singh Thakur yesterday in Parliament is condemnable and BJP never supports such statement or ideology. She has been expelled from Consultative Committee on Defence and also she will not be allowed in Party's Parliamentary Party meetings for the session."
With such contradictory opinions coming from the party, it is not yet clear what exactly happened. And with Speaker Om Birla expunging Thakur's remark from the record, one can never be certain.
Opposition members nonetheless protested outside the House. The Congress was quick to condemn her statement and party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala yesterday said that even as the nation celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the BJP MP is glorifying Godse.
This is not the first time the BJP MP from Bhopal has called Godse a 'patriot'. Earlier, while she was a BJP candidate for the polls she had expressed a similar sentiment. At that time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made it clear that such statements would not be tolerated by the party.