Objecting to BJP leaders’ remarks “glorifying” Nathuram Godse, the Congress on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should either throw out such “devotees” of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin from his party or end the “sham” of bowing before Gandhi’s statues.
The opposition party targeted the prime minister a day after Union minister Giriraj Singh termed Godse a “saput” (worthy son) of India. Another BJP leader, former Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, called Godse a “patriot” a few days earlier.
While senior BJP leaders are glorifying Godse, the prime minister “says nothing” and takes no action against them, the Congress charged.
“Today we challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi: You have to do one of these – Throw out Godse devotees from your party or end the sham of bowing down before Gandhiji. There is no place for worshippers of Godse in this country of Gandhiji. Modiji, you have to decide,” the Congress said in a tweet in Hindi.
The party also shared a picture of Prime Minister Modi bowing before a bust of Mahatma Gandhi during his recent visit to Japan.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “First it is a former CM of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat, who calls Nathuram Godse a patriot. Now Union Minister Giriraj Singh praises him. But the man who turned the Mahatma’s spectacles into a logo for Swachh Bharat — a rebrand of the earlier Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan — says nothing and takes no action to pull up his colleagues.”
Asked about Giriraj Singh’s remark, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said Rahul Gandhi has established, within India and abroad, that the fight today is between Gandhi and Godse.
“Mahatma Gandhi represents all that is good within us, in our society, whether it is truth, whether it is non-violence or whether it is love. And Godse stands for violence, he stands for hatred, he stands for lies. And that is why the question: why do people from the BJP, why do senior leaders from the BJP, whether it is Giriraj Singh or the former chief minister of Uttarakhand, go on glorifying Godse and why does Mr Modi not take cognisance of this,” she asked.
She said Prime Minister Modi finds legitimacy, whether in India or overseas, from Gandhi. “That is why you don’t see him going and inaugurating statues of Godse. He goes and bows before Gandhi because Gandhi is the biggest apostle of peace, love and humanity. And the fight of our times is between Godse and Gandhi. We know who is standing with Godse because we are certainly standing steadfastly with Gandhi,” she said.
Union minister Giriraj Singh on Friday termed Godse a “saput” (worthy son) of India and said the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi was not an invader like Mughal rulers Babur and Aurangzeb as he was born in India.
Talking to reporters in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, Singh, who holds the rural development and panchayati raj portfolio, said those who feel happy in calling themselves children of Babur and Aurangzeb cannot be true sons of mother India.
Earlier this week, former Uttarakhand chief minister Rawat termed Godse a patriot while mocking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Targeting the former Congress president, Rawat said merely having the Gandhi surname did not make his ideology Gandhian.
“Gandhi ji was killed, that is a different issue. But as far as I have understood and read Godse, he too was a patriot. We do not agree with the killing of Gandhi-ji,” Rawat said.
Targeting the two BJP leaders, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said, “Mahatma Gandhi is the Father of the Nation. Celebrating his killer is an anti-national act. But if you’re in the BJP, celebrating Godse is a badge of honour. The recent statements of Giriraj Singh, a Minister holding a constitutional post, and former Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat reflect the mindset of their party. The PM’s silence tells you he approves of their every word.”