Speaking to Republic Media Network's Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor in his final and most explosive interview of the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign trail - 49 days after his first election campaign interview with Republic's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami - PM Narendra Modi addressed an array of issues including the raging controversy that was triggered by the shocking remarks made by BJP's Bhopal election candidate Sadhvi Pragya Thakur wherein she regarded Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "deshbhakt".
On being asked about Sadhvi Pragya's 'Godse is a patriot' remark, PM Modi asserted in no uncertain terms that her statement was highly condemnable and unacceptable and that he would not be able to forgive her despite her apology.
"Jo bayan aaya hai, puri tarah nindaniye hai, aswikariye hai, aur kabhi bhi aise logo ko aise galti nhi karni chahiye, galti se bhi galti nhi karni chahiye, galti se bhi galti nhi karni chahiye, satark rehna chahiye. Theek hai, baad main unhone maafi mangi, lekin main mann se unko maaf nhi kar paunga, jeevan bhar nhi kar paunga," the Prime Minister said in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone.
("The remark is highly condemnable and unacceptable. People should not make such mistakes. People should not make such mistakes even by mistake. One must be aware. Yes, she may have apologised later, but I won't ever be able to forgive her.)
BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Singh Thakur on Thursday termed Mahatma Gandhi's assailant Nathuram Godse a "deshbhakt" (patriot), while responding to a reporter's question on MNM chief Kamal Haasan's 'free India's first terrorist was a Hindu' remark in reference to Godse.
"Nathuram Godse was a 'Deshbhakt', is a 'Deshbhakt' and will remain a 'Deshbhakt'. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections," Thakur had said.
Hours later, after her statements were condemned across the political spectrum, Sadhvi Pragya issued an apology, calling it her personal opinion:
"It was my personal opinion. I was at a roadshow. I was asked the question and I said the answer in a hurry. 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. I respect him a lot," she said.
However, she went onto blame the media for twisting her statement, reiterating that her party BJP's line is her line.
"My statement has been twisted by the media. I have not seen the TV but I am dedicated to my party which is why party's line is my line," she had added.
BJP chief Amit Shah also condemned Sadhvi Pragya's remarks as well as similar ones by two other BJP leaders, stating that the party's disciplinary committee was looking into their remarks and would come up with a report in 10 days.