NEW DELHI: The Congress on Saturday lashed out at those glorifying Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse on the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation and alleged that this was happening with the “patronage” of the ruling BJP.
BJP MP Varun Gandhi also slammed those hailing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Godse, saying they are irresponsibly shaming the country and should be named and shamed publicly.
He said the “lunatic fringe” must not be allowed to enter the mainstream.
Congress leader from Gujarat Hardik Patel thanked Varun Gandhi for taking a “morally right and nationalistic stand”, and urged Twitter India as well as Home Minister Amit Shah to take strict action against all those posting in favour of the “killers of Gandhi”.
“Any such heinous trends must immediately be banned, accounts blocked and FIR be filed against those tweeting in favour of Godse,” Patel said.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said the forces who opposed Gandhi and all that he stood for were the ones who killed him.
“Those forces are now in power and are trying to kill all that Gandhi stood, struggled, lived and died for,” he said.
Khera also said that “masks have always played the most important role in the dubious history of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) — they conceal the real face of the Sangh”.
While paying lip service to Bapu, the supporters are encouraged to legitimise Godse, he added.
Another Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said on a day when the whole world is hailing Mahatma Gandhi and remembering him, it is unfortunate that followers of Godse are hailing him on social media in India.
She said she was not at all surprised at the development as it is “the result of that hatred that is being nurtured.
“On Gandhi Jayanti, Godse is being hailed in India, this is the result of the seeds of hatred that the government and its representatives are sowing,” she alleged.
Youth Congress chief Srinivas B V said as an Indian he is ashamed that with the “patronage” of a “Godsewadi” government, the slogan of “terrorist Nathuram Godse Zindabad” was being raised on the birth anniversary of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi”.
“Mr Prime Minister, stop these double standards, Gandhi on lips, but Godse in heart,” he said.
In a tweet, the Congress, on its official Twitter handle, said, “If Bapu were alive today he would not recognise the India he gave his life for.”
It also used a hashtag in Hindi which stated ‘Gandhi is not only the past but also the future’.
The comments came amid “Nathuram Godse Zindabad” (long live Nathuram Godse) being among the top Twitter trends on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
Twitter trends, however, do not necessarily reflect the real public discourse as many experts believe there could be paid tweets, algorithm-based automated posts and other factors at play to push a particular subject among the top-trending topics on social media platforms.
A section of right wingers have often posted comments eulogising the man, who shot dead Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948, especially on the days linked to India’s most famous freedom fighter.
BJP MP Varun Gandhi also said India has always been a spiritual superpower, but it is the Mahatma who articulated “our nation’s spiritual underpinnings through his being and gave us a moral authority that remains our greatest strength even today”.
“Those tweeting ‘Godse Zindabad’ are irresponsibly shaming the nation,” Varun Gandhi, who is not related to Mahatma Gandhi, said.
“We must not forget the respect that India has internationally is because of Mahatma Gandhi and the ideals that he represented. The people who are tweeting ‘Godse Zindabad’ should be named and shamed publicly. The lunatic fringe must not be allowed to enter the mainstream,” he said.