Sakshi Maharaj, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Unnao, did a ‘U turn’ after his remarks that Nathuram Godse was as much a nationalist as Mahatma Gandhi caused a furore on Thursday.
Hours after being caught on camera saying that “Godse was a nationalist and Gandhiji also did a lot for the nation,” Sakshi Maharaj backtracked from his statement.
“If I said something by mistake I take it back. I don’t consider Nathuram Godse a patriot,” he said.
The BJP MP’s remarks had come at a time when Opposition leaders in the Rajya Sabha were protesting against the reported feting of Godse in Maharashtra.
There was a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha over the matter with Congress leaders claiming that “Nathuram Godse ‘shaurya divas’ (bravery day)” was being observed in Maharashtra.
Congress party’s Husain Dalwai alleged that two legislators were on the list of invitees for one such event.
“They are deliberately observing the ‘shaurya divas’ of the man who killed Father of the Nation. There was forced conversion in Agra, and now this…,” Dalwai said, alleging that groups associated with ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were responsible for this. “I have written to Maharashtra chief minister on this,” he added.
This was followed by a ruckus in the house, with other opposition parties joining in.
Some members also trooped near the chairman’s podium, raising slogans against the government.
An angry Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said government is not supporting the killers of Mahatma Gandhi in any way.
“This kind of language is unacceptable,” Naqvi said.
As ruckus continued, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien adjourned the house till noon. When the house met again for question hour at noon, the ruckus continued, forcing another adjournment for 10 minutes.
After the second adjournment, Congress leader Anand Sharma said he was certain the government will not support killers of Mahatma Gandhi, and added that the whole house shall speak in one voice on the issue.
“Opposition also wants the house to function. Government will never approve of eulogising of the assassins of Father of the Nation… Let the house speak in one voice. We must condemn it as one house,” said Sharma.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said there is no question of eulogising Godse.
“There is no question of anybody accepting such a preposition eulogising the person responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. There is no question of anybody associating with such persons. I am saying this on record,” Naidu said.