Sadhvi Pragya calls Mahatma Gandhi ‘son of soil’, says she follows his footsteps

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BJP MP from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur. (File)

In a stark contrast to her previous statements, BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Thakur Monday called Mahatma Gandhi "son of the nation" who needs to be loved and remembered by the nation at all times, India Today reported. Thakur had earlier heaped praises on Gandhi's killer, Nathuram Godse, calling him a dekhbhakt (patriot).

The Bhopal MP made the remark at an event in her constituency where she was asked over her absence from Gandhi Sankalp Yatra organised by her party across the state. "Gandhi is the son of the nation, I admire him and do not need to give any explanation," India Today quoted her as saying.

"Whoever has worked for the nation is admirable to me. I will forever walk the path charted by Mahatma Gandhi. People who have given guidance to us, we will certainly praise them. Follow their footsteps, we pave the way for people," she added.

Earlier in May, when the Lok Sabha elections were underway, Thakur had created controversy by calling Godse a patriot, a remark which was immediately condemned by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.

“Nathuram Godseji deshbhakt the, hai, aur rahenge… unko aatankwadi kahne wale log swayam ki gireban me jhaank kar dekhe… chunav mein aise logon ko jawab de diya jayega (Nathuram Godse was a patriot, is a patriot, and will remain a patriot… those who call him a terrorist should look within… they will get a reply in this election),” she had said.

Her statement was in reply to actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s remark that “independent India’s first extremist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse”.

After the BJP condemned her remark, Thakur had aplogised by saying, “It was my personal opinion remark. My intention was not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. If I’ve hurt anyone I do apologise. What Gandhi Ji has done for the country cannot be forgotten. My statement has been twisted by the media.”

On Thakur's remark, PM Modi had said he will never forgive her. “It’s a different matter that she has apologised, I will not be able to forgive her from my heart,” he had said.