Video Producer: Furqan Faridi
Adding to her list of controversial statements, BJP MP from Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, on Thursday, 16 May, said that Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, "was a deshbhakt, is a deshbhakt and will remain one". She later apologised, saying that she respected Gandhi and that her comments had been twisted by the media.
In light of her comment, The Quint spoke to some citizens of the country to understand their opinion on Godse and whether they agreed with Thakur’s comment.
“Shame on you RSS and shame on those people who are supporting this lady in this election. The worst thing which is going to happen this election would be Pragya Singh Thakur becoming an MP.”Aditya Narayan, Student
Aditya Tiwari, a student, said that Thakur's comments on Karkare and her calling Godse a patriot showed that it was a planned political move by BJP to try and promote a radical kind of nationalism and Hindutva. He added that her winning the election would be an unfortunate event for democracy in India.
Sonu Sita Ram, a resident of Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, told The Quint that Godse had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, an act which could not be accepted. "There are other ways of showing patriotism, but how can we accept the assassination of the Father of the Nation," he asked.
Chintu, a shopkeeper in Chandigarh, said the same. “A person who shot Gandhiji, how can he be a patriot?” he asked, adding that whoever had made the comment was wrong.
Anjum Mahant, a resident of Guwahati, also agreed, saying that he did not believe that Godse was a patriot, adding that it was just the narrative of the BJP and the RSS.
Shalini Jha, a student in Mumbai, said that Thakur should not have made such statements because Gandhi was not just a Hindu leader or a Muslim leader but an Indian leader, a respected one.
“For her to say such a statement at this point of time could really make BJP do a self goal,” Jha added.
However, some people also agreed with Thakur's statement. Sakshi Bhatia, a social activist in Chandigarh, said that she believed that Godse had been a ‘patriot’, but that shooting Gandhi had not been the right way to display his patriotism.