In a year when the country celebrates Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary, a political row has kicked up in Gujarat, his birth state, after celebrations over Nathram Godse, who killed Gandhi.
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Eight persons, allegedly owing allegiance Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, were arrested by the Surat Police for celebrating Godse's birth anniversary on Sunday night in Surat. It was a closed door affair. However, the video of the programme went viral. When the BJP LS candidate from Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, had hailed Godse as a patriot, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah had criticised her utterances. At that time, the Gujarat BJP had remained silent.
However, now that Godse's birthday was celebrated in Gujarat, both the BJP and the state government became defensive. Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja said that the state government is committed to ensure that the peace of Gujarat is not affected in the name of Godse.
Strict instructions were issued to nab those involved, Jadeja said, adding that in Gandhi's Gujarat, celebrating the birth anniversary of Godse will not be tolerated.
Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya flayed the Surat incident and said that those opposing and looking at Gandhi's life through a “short vision” were doing a condemnable job. He pointed out that to propagate Gandhi's ideals, his cleanliness campaign was also being made a part of the lifestyle.
Congress spokesperson in Gujarat, Manish Doshi, flayed the incident of Surat and said that at a time when the exit polls have predicted victory for the NDA, attempts have begun to glorify Godse. He alleged that those involved in the incident were from sister organisations of the BJP.
He further alleged that both Modi and Shah used Gandhi in campaign and had Godse in their thoughts.