Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Pragya Thakur's statement referring to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin, Nathuram Godse, as a "deshbhakt" (patriot) during a debate in Lok Sabha triggered protests by opposition members on November 27.
DMK member A Raja cited a statement of Godse on why he killed Mahatma Gandhi during a discussion on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill. Thakur interrupted and said, "You cannot give example of a deshbhakt."
Raja said that Godse himself admitted that he had nursed a grudge against Gandhi for 32 years before finally deciding to assassinate him. He said that Godse killed Gandhi because he believed in a particular philosophy.
While the opposition members protested the interruption by Thakur, the BJP members persuaded her to sit down. Following this, the Speaker said that only A Raja's statement would be taken on record.
During the course of discussion on the Bill, Congress' Gaurav Gogoi brought up Thakur's statement. He said that a member in the House had called Nathuram Godse a patriot, and that the member should apologise for the remark.
Reacting to the statement, Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi told news agency ANI that Thakur did not take the name of Godse.
"She did not take the name of Godse or anyone else. There is nothing on record like that. It is not right to simply spread news like that," Joshi said.
Not the first instance
Even during the Lok Sabha election campaign earlier this year, Thakur had described Godse as a patriot, triggering a huge political storm at the time. She had later apologised for her statement.
"Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt, he is and will remain a deshbhakt. Those calling him a terrorist should instead look at themselves. They will be given a befitting reply in this election," Thakur had commented while attending a roadshow.
This was in response to a question over actor-politician Kamal Haasan's remark that independent India's first "extremist was a Hindu", a reference to Godse.
Back then, the BJP had immediately gotten into damage control and distanced itself from Thakur's statement, while also asking her to tender a public apology.
Following her remarks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the campaign, had said, "The remarks made about Gandhiji or Nathuram Godse are very bad and very wrong for society.... She has sought an apology but I would never be able to forgive her fully."(With inputs from PTI)