The Congress party on Monday said that a 'sedition case' should be slapped against the former Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde over his remarks against Mahatma Gandhi-led freedom movement. The grand old party further demanded an apology from PM Modi over the same. The opposition party demanded that the prime minister must come to Parliament and clarify his position on Hegde's "objectionable" remarks, and asserted that it was time for Modi to prove whether his loyalty was towards Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse or the Father of the Nation.
An irked Congress party, took on the BJP leader wherein Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the leaders of the saffron party could afford to call the freedom movement a drama as they never fought for the country's independence and made any sacrifices. Demanding Hegde's expulsion from the BJP, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said it was time for the prime minister to prove whether his loyalty was towards Godse or Gandhi.
"The prime minister did not take action against Pragya Thakur, who continues to insult Mahatma Gandhi on a daily basis, and now, Anantkumar Hegde has joined the 'hate Bapu' chorus. The prime minister's love for Gandhi exists only in advertisements and on the ground, 'hate Mahatma Gandhi' seems to be the tool to mobilise his cadres. "If the prime minister has even an ounce of respect for Gandhi, he should remove Thakur and Hegde from the party. It is time for the prime minister to prove whether his loyalty is towards Godse or Gandhi," he said.
Another spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala also took a dig at the BJP over Hegde's remarks, wondering how could those who believed in "kattagraha" (the rule of pistols) accept "satyagraha". "This is Modi's Bharat, where Bapu's thoughts and the path he walked on are attacked everyday. Will Modi ji take action against Anant Hegde? Otherwise, it will be proven that the voice was of Hegde, but the idea was of ??Modi ji?," he said in a tweet.
This comes after Hegde attacked Mahatma Gandhi by calling the freedom struggle led by him a "drama" and also questioned as to how "such people" come to be called 'Mahatma' in India. While addressing a public event in Bengaluru, the Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada said the entire freedom movement was "staged with the consent and support of the British". "None of these so-called leaders were beaten up by the cops even once. Their independence movement was one big drama. It was staged by these leaders with the approval of the British. It was not a genuine fight. It was an adjustment freedom struggle," he said. The BJP leader has not apologised for his remarks.
The senior BJP leader also termed Mahatma Gandhi's hunger strikes and satyagraha a "drama". "People supporting Congress keep saying that India got independence because of the fast unto death and satyagraha. This is not true. The British did not leave the country because of satyagraha," he said. "Britishers gave independence out of frustration. My blood boils when I read history. Such people become Mahatma in our country," Hegde said in his concluding statement.
BJP's Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur had stirred controversy, after she shockingly hailed Gandhi's assassin, Nathuram Godse inside the Parliament two months ago. However, the terror-accused BJP candidate was only barred by the BJP from attending parliamentary party meet amid the ongoing winter session for calling Godse a 'true patriot.' During a similar utterance in the past, PM Modi has stated that he would 'never forgive' for insulting Gandhi and calling his murderer a 'true patriot.'
(With PTI inputs)