Terrorism accused and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for Bhopal constituency Pragya Singh Thakur on Thursday kicked up a row, saying Nathuram Godse was a "patriot, is a patriot, and will always remain a patriot."
On the campaign trail, sitting in the front seat of an open jeep, Pragya said people calling Godse a terrorist should look within. "The voters of the country will give a befitting reply to such people," she said.
#WATCH BJP Bhopal Lok Sabha Candidate Pragya Singh Thakur says 'Nathuram Godse was a 'deshbhakt', is a 'deshbhakt' and will remain a 'deshbhakt'. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections pic.twitter.com/4swldCCaHK— ANI (@ANI) May 16, 2019
The BJP, though, condemned Thakur's remark, saying the party disagrees with her. "We will ask her for clarification. She should apologise publically for this statement," BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.
Actor-politician Kamal Haasan had recently revived the debate on Hindu terrorism when, referring to Godse, he said: "Independent India's first terrorist was a Hindu".
Addressing an election campaign Aravakurichi in Tamil Nadu on Sunday, the Makkal Needhi Maiyam (MNM) founder said he was one of those "proud Indians" who desires an India with equality and where the "three colours" in the tricolour, an obvious reference to different faiths, "remained intact."
"I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Free India's first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it (terrorism, apparently) starts," he said.
Haasan said he had come here "seeking answers for that murder," referring to Gandhi's assassination in 1948.