The BJP must expel Pragya Thakur | HT Editorial
Pragya Singh Thakur, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Member of Parliament from Bhopal, has done it again. In the Lok Sabha, she called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a deshbhakt (patriot). During the election campaign, too, Ms Thakur had referred to Godse as a patriot, and said those calling him a terrorist should instead look at themselves. She had also said that Hemant Karkare, the Mumbai police officer who was martyred in the 26/11 attacks, died because of her “curse”. The senior police official had been investigating charges of terror against Ms Thakur, who remains an accused in the Malegaon bombings of 2008.
The BJP has condemned Ms Thakur for her remark in Parliament, removing her from the standing committee on defence and barring her from the party’s parliamentary meetings. During the campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said he would never be able to personally forgive her for the Godse comment. The party had said it would initiate disciplinary proceedings, but little came of it. Her repeat offence is, therefore, above all, an act of insubordination.
The BJP’s original mistake was in giving Ms Thakur a ticket in the first place. Its second mistake was not to revoke the ticket after her remarks on Godse and Karkare. It is now making its third mistake, for no degree of condemnation is enough for her outrageous remark. The only way out is to correct the original mistake, which is by expelling Ms Thakur from the party. The loss of one MP will not matter to the BJP’s arithmetic, but it will help the party walk the talk on its commitment to Gandhi. This is particularly true as the country marks the Mahatma’s 150th birth anniversary, a campaign the PM has made his own. It is time for a course correction.