BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde in a controversial statement described the freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi as "drama" and said his "blood boiled" when he read history and "such people came to be called Mahatma". News agency ANI, quoting BJP sources said that the party's top leadership is unhappy with Anant Hegde's statement and he has been asked to issue an unconditional apology.
While addressing a public event in Bengaluru on Saturday, 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 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.
The Karnataka BJP distanced itself from Hegde’s statements, saying it doesn’t approve of what he has said. State BJP spokesperson G Madhusudhan said the RSS holds Mahatma Gandhi in high esteem and won’t support such “cheap” remarks.
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi took a swipe at the BJP over Hegde's remark and said that PM Narendra Modi's reaction to the controversy was awaited. "Awaiting Narendra Modi who invokes Mahatma Gandhi at the drop of a hat especially when repackaging his ideas & to gain international credibility to comment on Mr Hegde who is a senior BJP leader," he said in a tweet.
Awaiting Narendra Modi who invokes Mahatma Gandhi at the drop of a hat especially when repackaging his ideas & to gain international credibility to comment on Mr Hegde who is a senior BJP Leader.https://t.co/LfPD74PLnE— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) February 3, 2020
Hegde, who is a six-time Lok Sabha member is not new to controversies. Last year, he sparked a row by calling Congress president Rahul Gandhi a “hybrid product that can be found only in Congress laboratory”. He said Gandhi claims to be a Brahmin “despite being born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother”.