Ananthkumar Hegde denies charges against him, says he did not say anything against Mahatma Gandhi
Bengaluru/ New Delhi: Thumbing his nose at the BJP high-command, a defiant party MP from Karnataka Anantkumar Hegde today said he stood by every word of what he said about India’s freedom struggle and that he was unrepentant about his comments.
He ruled out an apology and said he had not said one word on Mahatma Gandhi.
“Whatever is being shown in the media is a lie. I stand by my statement. I never made any reference to any political party or Gandhi,” Hegde told news agency ANI in an interview.
“If I have said even one word on Gandhi or (Jawaharlal) Nehru or any freedom fighter, then show it to me,” he said.
Though he had not mentioned the word, Gandhi, this is what is on record: “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.”
The Congress was quick to pounce on Hegde’s clarification saying who else was Mahatma in India’s freedom struggle.
Hegde had called Mahatma Gandhi-led freedom struggle as a “big drama” staged with the “consent and support of the British”.
Hegde said he had clarified his stand to BJP working president JP Nadda.
Though the BJP’s top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi were deeply embarrassed and upset, the MP from communally sensitive Sirsi in Karnataka stood by what he said.
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On Tuesday, there were loud protests in parliament by the opposition over Hegde’s comments.
Congress MP and leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Choudhary said those who insulted Gandhi were “Ravan ke aulad (children of Ravan)”. The Congress walked out of the house, upset at the ruling party’s response to Hegde’s outrageous remarks.
“All these protests are being held peacefully. All these peaceful protests are held on the principles given by Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi who is worshipped all around the world. That Mahatma Gandhi is abused here. They are the children of Ravan. They are disrespecting the worshipper of Ram,” Chaudhary said.
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi responded saying: “These people unnecessarily making an issue. The concerned member has said that he has not said anything like that. We the BJP people are the real bhakts. These people are the followers of fake Gandhis like Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.”