Pragya Thakur to be out of defence panel
The Bharatiya Janata Party has condemned its controversial MP Pragya Thakur’s for her remarks on Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, and barred her from attending the regular meeting for party MPs for the rest of the winter session, BJP working president JP Nadda said.
Pragya Thakur is also being pulled out from the parliamentary panel on defence.
“Her statement yesterday in Parliament is condemnable. The BJP never supports such statement or ideology,” BJP working president JP Nadda told ANI on Thursday morning. Nadda’s statement implies that the party has rejected her claim that she wasn’t referring to Godse when she made the remark in Lok Sabha.
Her remark led to an immediate uproar in the House. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla expunged her remark from the house records but it did not help stop the barrage of criticism from political parties and on social media.
It spilled over to Thursday morning when the Congress sought action against her. But Om Birla would have none of it, pointing out that since her statement was not on record, it couldn’t be discussed.
When asked about the controversy, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “That is the heart of the BJP, that is the centre of the BJP, that is the heart of the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh].”
The Congress and some other opposition parties are also likely to move a censure motion against Thakur in Lok Sabha on Friday.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh sought to blunt the opposition attacks, emphasising that the BJP and the government firmly reject and condemn Thakur’s remark on Godse. “Not just the comment, we don’t even tolerate such a thought,” he said.
Rajnath Singh said Mahatma Gandhi remained an ideal and inspiration for everyone in the country.
This is the second time that Pragya Thakur has embarrassed the party by referring to the Mahatma’s assassin. In the run up to the national elections, Pragya Thakur had said “Nathuram Godse was a ‘deshbhakt’ (patriot), is a ‘deshbhakt’ and people consider him as a ‘deshbhakt’.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t take her remarks lightly. Within a few days, in a TV interview, Modi underlined that the kind of a language she used could not be tolerated in a civilised society. “She has apologised. That is a different thing. But in my heart, I cannot forgive her,” PM Modi had said.
Soon after, her case was handed over to the party disciplinary committee.
According to a BJP leader who spoke on condition of anonymity, party leaders Avinash Khanna and Om Pathak looked into the circumstances of her comments to decide if she deserved further punishment.
“We did give our report but I am unable to tell you what it was as it is an internal matter of the party,’’ said Pathak, adding, “I can however say that the party dealt with it appropriately.”
In August, Thakur again embarrassed her party colleagues when she claimed that the ATS chief Hemant Karkare who was killed on duty during the 26/11 terror attack, was killed by `Marak Shakti’ or black magic. Karkare was in charge of the investigation into the Malegaon blast for which Thakur was arrested. She has been out on bail since 2017. At that time, as this paper reported, the party decided to take another route. Thakur’s state chief Rakesh Singh conveyed that the party was officially putting a gag order on her.
On Thursday, the party decided that far tougher action was required.
The BJP’s move to drop her from the consultative committee of MPs on defence comes against this background.