New Delhi: BJP MP Pragya Thakur had to apologise twice Lok Sabha on Friday for her remarks glorifying Nathuram Godse even as she asserted that she had never described Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin as a patriot.
After her first apology, received as more of a non-apology, failed to assuage the outraged opposition, Thakur was given a prepared statement to read out that was agreed to by the floor leaders of all parties in Speaker Om Birla’s chambers.
“I want to say only what I do for the country. On November 27, during discussion on SPG (Amendment) Bill, I did not call Nathuram Godse a patriot (desh bhakt), I did not even take his name. Still if someone is hurt, I express my regret and apologise,” she said in Lok Sabha around 3.00 pm.
Her microphone was cut off before she could go off script. She continued to utter something but remained inaudible.
Before she entered the House, Speaker Om Birla had said that Thakur would read out the statement agreed upon at the meeting of party leaders. Thakur started her remarks referring to her enemies, but she was interrupted by the Speaker. She then read out the prepared statement.
The House then resumed normal business with members speaking on their Zero Hour references.
Earlier in the day in her first statement, Thakur had tendered a conditional apology in Lok Sabha after being summoned by the Speaker, but asserted that her remarks were twisted. The Bhopal MP said she had made the comments in a different context.
Defiant in her apology, she had added a ‘but’ immediately after saying sorry for her conduct. “If anyone is hurt due to any of my statements, I apologise. But, my point was misrepresented and misinterpreted. I was called a terrorist… there is no evidence against me,” Thakur said, triggering massive protest in opposition benches.
Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blast case, had created a controversy on Wednesday with her remarks in the Lower House of Parliament during DMK member A Raja’s narration of a statement by Nathuram Godse before a court on why he killed Mahatma Gandhi.
This was not the first time she had called Godse a patriot. She had also courted controversy by calling Godse a patriot in the run-up to the General Elections.
Thakur also said she was dubbed as a terrorist by a sitting MP, referring to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s tweet.
“One member has publicly termed me as a terrorist, though I have not been convicted by the court … it is an insult to a woman and a sadhvi,” she said and added that making such remarks too was against the law.
Thakur remains an accused in the Malegaon blast case. Six people were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a power-loom town in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.
Unsatisfied with Thakur’s apology, the Congress strongly protested in the House and shouted slogans and demanded suspension of the BJP MP from the House.
Amid interruptions by opposition members, Speaker Birla had convened a meeting of party floor leaders to resolve the stalemate.