New Delhi, Nov 29, 2019-
BJP MP Pragya Thakur on Friday tendered apology in the Lok Sabha twice over her remarks on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, denying she made any such remark, but regretting if her statement had hurt anybody.
The Bhopal MP, who faces charges in the Malegaon blasts case, first tendered her apology after the question hour which led to an uproar in the House with opposition seeking her “unqualified apology”. She tendered her apology for the second time during zero hour after an all-party meeting chaired by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla over the issue.
In her latest statement, Thakur said: “I did not call Nathuram Godse a ‘desbhakt’ during the discussion on the SPG Bill on November 27. I didn’t take his name, even though, if someone is hurt, I regret and apologise.”
Thakur tried to speak more on the issue, but the Speaker did not allow her.
In her earlier apology, Thakur alleged that her statement was “wrongly interpreted and twisted”, which triggered another row in the House which lasted over 30 minutes with the Opposition raising slogans.
“In the backdrop of past sequence of events, I express regret and apologies if any statement made by me in the House has hurt anybody in any way. But, I also want to say that my statement made in Parliament was wrongly interpreted and twisted,” Thakur said earlier.
“The way my statement was twisted is condemnable. I respect the service done by Mahatma Gandhi for the country.”
Thakur in her first apology had also reminded how a senior member of the House called her “terrorist” publicly and the previous government “tortured” her by “hatching conspiracy” against her.
“A senior member of the House called me a ‘terrorist’ publicly. No allegation has been proved in the court despite the conspiracy hatched by the then government against me.
“It is against law to call me a terrorist without proving me guilt. It was an attempt to insult me as a woman, as a saint and as a Member of Parliament,” Thakur said.
She said, “The then government had tortured me physically and mentally as a woman.”
Thakur’s apology made in Hindi followed a ruckus in the House with the entire opposition, including Congress, TDP, RSP, DMK, BSP and SP, trooping near the Speaker’s podium demanding her “unqualified apology” and raising slogans like “Down down Godse”, “Mahatma Gandhi ki jai”, “down down BJP”.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sought unqualified apology from Thakur and termed her statement an attempt to “mislead” the House.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said Thakur in her first sentence tendered her apology, and that “such conduct is not fine after the apology”. “She clearly tendered her apology and expressed her respect for Mahatma Gandhi.”
Thakur’s apology came a day after Opposition benches demanded an apology from her and submitted a censure motion signed by 50 MPs to Speaker Om Birla.
The opposition took up the issue on Thursday with Congress leader Chowdhury, DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran and Revolutionary Socialist Party’s N.K. Premchandran along with other MPs submitting a letter to the Speaker seeking to censure Thakur.
On Thursday, the BJP leadership removed her from the parliamentary panel on defence and asked her not to join meetings of the parliamentary party in the remaining winter session.
Thakur on Wednesday sparked a row with her remarks in Lok Sabha during DMK leader A. Raja’s reference of a statement by Godse before a court on why he killed Mahatma Gandhi. Raja had cited Godse’s statement during a discussion on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019, to which Thakur reacted.
Earlier, soon after the House met, Chowdhury reminded Birla that all opposition MPs had requested him on Thursday seeking to censure Thakur in the House if she does not apologise for her remarks, which was later expunged from records. (Agency)