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BJP acts against Pragya Thakur as furore rocks House

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani blesses party MP Pragya Singh Thakur during a meeting NDA MPs in the Central Hall of Parliament on May 25, 2019.

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani blesses party MP Pragya Singh Thakur during a meeting NDA MPs in the Central Hall of Parliament on May 25, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

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Bhopal MP out of parliamentary party meetings and defence panel.

The BJP on Thursday barred its Lok Sabha MP from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur from attending any meeting of the parliamentary party and dropped her from the consultative committee on defence for praising Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.

The ruling party’s action against Ms. Thakur, who continues to be an accused in the Malegaon blast case, came amidst an Opposition uproar that prompted Defence Minister and Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha, Rajnath Singh, to assert that “the BJP’s philosophy had no place for any glorification of Godse”.

Punitive action

In damage control mode, BJP’s working president J.P. Nadda announced the disciplinary action against Ms. Thakur who on Wednesday described the Mahatma’s assassin as a deshbhakt (patriot), while speaking in Parliament. “The BJP never supports such statements and we do not support this ideology. We have decided that Ms. Thakur will not attend meetings of BJP parliamentary party during the session,” he told reporters.

Ms. Thakur, however, took to Twitter to defend herself. 

“Storm of lies becomes so big at times that even day appears to be night but the Sun does not lose its light. People should not be swayed by this storm. Truth is that I did not tolerate insult to Udham Singh yesterday,” Ms. Thakur said in her tweet in Hindi.

 

Opposition parties attacked the government, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and claimed that the party’s “inaction against her [Ms. Thakur] proved its tacit support to her and supporters of Godse”.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, speaking to reporters at the Parliament complex, said Ms. Thakur’s remarks represent “heart and soul” of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) philosophy.

As soon as proceedings started, Opposition members strongly protested the controversial remarks made by Ms. Thakur during the debate on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill.

BJP acts against Pragya Thakur as furore rocks House
 

Congress leader in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury stood up and said the BJP MP had called “the Congress a terrorist party and Godse a deshbhakt”.

"Thousands of members of the Congress have laid down their lives while serving the nation. How can she dare to say such things that too inside the House? We demand action,” Mr. Chowdhury said and added that it was the BJP’s ideology that allowed her to make such a statement.

He accused the ruling party of trying to take away the legacy of leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi.

 

The Congress leader was supported by the Trinamool Congress, DMK, NCP, Left parties and the AIMIM with Trinamool’s Saugata Roy and AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi demanding to speak on the issue.

The Lok Sabha Speaker then informed the House that he would not allow a debate as the BJP MP’s speech was never a part of the official records and had been expunged.

At this the Defence Minister, who is also the Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha, intervened to clarify his party’s position.

“Far from talking about Nathuram Godse being called a patriot, we condemn the idea of treating him as a patriot. His (Gandhi's) philosophy was, is and will remain relevant and he is as a guide (margdarshak) for the nation,” Mr. Singh said.

Not satisfied with the response, the MPs belonging to the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, Left parties, NCP and AIMIM walked out in protest. Other parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party, Biju Janata Dal, Telugu Desam Party and Telangana Rashtra Samithi however, remained seated.

Congress planning to censure Pragya

The Congress along with the other Opposition parties are gathering signatures seeking to censure Ms. Thakur for her objectionable comments. The party is reaching out all like-minded parties on the issue. “We want to expose the double standards of this government — on the one side they have planned a host of functions to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the other their MP defends his killer,” Congress Chief Whip in Lok Sabha Koddikunil Suresh told The Hindu.

 

A senior Congress leader said that Ms. Thakur made the controversial remarks just to distract attention from BJP's debacle in Maharashtra.

The parties are demanding that she apologise in the house. “They (BJP) gave her ticket and brought her to the Parliament, what will happen by not allowing her in parliamentary party meetings? She should not be allowed to sit in Parliament till she apologises, we will request the Speaker to censure her,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 1:34:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bjp-acts-against-pragya-thakur-as-furore-rocks-house/article30104312.ece

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