Bengaluru/New Delhi: Motormouth BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde created a major embarrassment for the BJP by describing the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi as just a stage-managed “drama” directed by the British.
The 51-year-old MP from Sirsi in Karnataka, who was not even born when Mahatma Gandhi launched the freedom movement, said the entire freedom ‘struggle’ was a sham and “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,” the MP said at a public event on Saturday, the video of which appeared on social media today.
He also said Mahatma Gandhi’s hunger strikes and satyagraha were 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. Britishers gave independence out of frustration. My blood boils when I read history. Such people become Mahatma in our country,” Hegde said.
He added that his “blood boiled” when he read history and “such people came to be called Mahatma”.
The BJP got pilloried for Hegde’s remarks from the Opposition and from within the saffron party. As the criticism grew louder, an embarrassed and red-faced BJP in New Delhi asked Hegde to put out an unconditional apology for his remarks.
Sources say the BJP’s top leadership was so upset that Hegde got a ear-full from a senior party leader.
It was Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Tushar Gandhi and the Congress that were first off the block in criticising Hegde.
“Hegde is correct in saying Bapu’s Freedom Fight was a drama. It was so intense that it opened the eyes of the British to their immoral colonisation and enslavement of India,” Tushar Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
The Congress hauled the BJP leader over the coals on social media. Party leader Abhishek Singhvi tweeted, “Awaiting Narendra Modi who invokes Mahatma Gandhi at the drop of a hat especially when repackaging his ideas and to gain international credibility to comment on Mr Hegde who is a senior BJP Leader.”
“Only sons of Nathuram Godse can make such comments on Mahatma Gandhi,” Congress’s BK Hariprasad said.
BJP leaders too found it extremely difficult and embarrassed to defend Hegde on the controversial remarks.
Union Minister Ashwani Choubey said that Hegde should not have made the comment and added that Gandhi is a well-respected figure in the nation.
The MP from Uttara Kannada, a minister in the previous government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was dropped when the BJP was re-elected to power last year because he was prone to make outrageous comments that showed the party in poor light.
Though a rabble-rouser, he has been elected six times as BJP MP from Uttara Kannada – an area that is deeply divided on communal lines.
Before the 2019 election, he raised a stink by calling Rahul Gandhi a “hybrid-type”, saying “his father is a Muslim, mother a Christian and he himself a Brahmin”. He had also declared that “any hand that touches a Hindu girl should not exist”.