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House split wide open after BJP MP dubs Godse a patriot

Close on the heels of the row over mass conversions in Agra, Parliament on Thursday witnessed severe criticism from the Opposition leaders amid reports of controversial ceremony organised by the right-wing groups in Maharashtra to honour Mahatma Gandhi’s killer, Nathuram Godse.

The issue was further flared up after BJP MP from Unnao, Sakshi Maharaj, said in Rajya Sabha that ‘Godse was a nationalist’ but so was Gandhiji and he did a lot for the nation. Realising that his remark could lead to a nationwide protest, he quickly backtracked and said, “If I said something by mistake I take it back. I don’t consider Nathuram Godse a patriot.”

However, the Opposition while refusing to accept his ‘slip of tongue’, created a ruckus over Gandhi’s assassin being referred as a hero in the Upper House. “Nathuram Godse ‘shaurya divas’ (bravery day) is being observed in Maharashtra. 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,” Congress leader Husain Dalwai said, while revealing that he has written a letter to Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis for punitive measures.

Soon, Dalwai’s statement was followed by a ruckus in the House, with other opposition parties including TMC joining in. Some members also trooped near the Chairman’s podium, raising slogans against the government. TMC MP Saugata Roy accused the BJP for supporting ‘religious polarisation’ and referred to a ruling party MP’s comment that Nathuram Godse was a patriot like Mahatma Gandhi, whom he had killed. “I thought BJP is for Ram. I got to know that it is for Nathuram. You wanted power, you got power. Now it’s your responsibility to see to it that everybody lives according to Constitution,” Roy said.

Defending Maharaj, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Our government is not supporting the killers of Mahatma Gandhi in any way. This kind of language is unacceptable.” Corroborating the same, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said there is no question of eulogising Godse.
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