New Delhi, Dec 12: A day after calling Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse a "patriot", BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj apologised for his remarks.
He rose to make a statement and said he respects the Mahatma and the House. "I withdraw my remarks. But my friends have no issue...Godse killed Gandhi long back but you killed the Mahatma's ideology in 1984 during anti-Sikh riots," he said.
Sakshi Maharaj was widely condemned for saying, "I feel Nathuram Godse was a patriot just as Mahatma Gandhi was." On Thursday, he back-tracked saying, "I don't consider Godse a patriotic person. I take back my words if I said something by mistake."
This development gave yet another chance to the Opposition Congress to raise this issue in the Parliament and sideline the Narendra Modi government and disrupt the proceedings of the House. As per media reports, the BJP MP from Unnav said, "Godse was a nationalist, Gandhi ji also did a lot for nation, but I don't have any detail of what event is being organised."
Opposition Congress raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha attacked the ruling dispensation and went on saying that the RSS has even planned to celebrate Godse's birthday as 'Shaurya Diwas'. "Nathuram Godse 'shaurya divas' (bravery day) is being observed in Maharashtra," said Congress leader Husain Dalwai, raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha.
He alleged that two legislators were also in the list of invitees. As per a Times Now report, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said, "Must not encourage programmes celebrating Nathuram Godse."
The government however distanced itself from the controversy. An angry Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said government is not supporting the killers of Mahatma Gandhi in any way.
Sakshi Maharaj later did a complete U-turn and retracted from his earlier statement saying it was a mistake.