Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday said some people remember Mahatma Gandhi just to “show off” but they appear reluctant to condemn his assassin Nathuram Godse, who represented an ideology that was opposed to what the Father of the Nation stood for.
Mr Baghel said Godse had tried to kill the independence movement stalwart even before the talk about creation of Pakistan started taking shape.
Speaking on the opening day of the two-day special Assembly session convened to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Mr Baghel said some people were trying to neglect and defame the legendary leader but he is relevant even today and will remain so in the future as well.
“There has been (a battle between) two ideologies. One ideology was represented by Mahatma Gandhi and his followers, while the other one was that which never wanted India to become an independent nation. They wanted to keep the country under slavery, the Congress leader said. Today when we remember Mahatma Gandhiji, it also reminds us of Nathuram Godse who killed him. The other ideology was represented by Godse.
“People use to say Godse had assassinated Mahatma Gandhiji for partition of India, but history tells that it was not his (Godses) first attempt to kill him rather it was his last attempt.
“Godse had earlier tried to kill Mahatma Gandhi even before there were no talks on carving out Pakistan, he said.
Mr Baghel said slogans hailing Mahatma Gandhi should be followed by condemnation of his assassin.
“Godse represented those forces which never wanted freedom for the country. Today when slogans are being raised hailing Gandhi ji then at the same time Godse should be strongly condemned by one and all.
“If one really wanted to accept Gandhiji then it should be with a pure heart. Accepting Gandhi ji means accepting his ideals, path of non-violence and truth.
“Some people are uttering the name of Gandhiji just to show off but they don’t have the courage to condemn Godse. They should show some courage and say Godse murdabad”,” he said.
Talking about the ongoing narrative on nationalism, the chief minister said for Mahatma Gandhiji this principle was inclusive and rooted in Indian ethos.
“Some people talk about nationalism…there is huge noise of nationalism under which the nation is being suppressed and the Constitution is being made meaningless. What kind of nationalism is this? Gandhiji had favoured a nationalism which had its roots in the soil of Indian society.
“Mahatma Gandhis nationalism was to take everyone together, to uplift women, for education of women, serving the downtrodden and the poor,” Mr Baghel said.
Mahatma Gandhiji dream was to establish gram swaraj (“village self-governance”) and following his path, the Chhattisgarh government has started taking steps to make farmers debt-free and boost the rural economy, the chief minister said.
Mr Baghel announced providing houses to those who have lost their homes in Maoist violence. He also paid rich tributes to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, whose birth anniversary also falls on October 2.
Taking part in the discussion, Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik of the BJP asked the state government to announce a complete ban on liquor on Gandhi Jayanti (as promised by the Congress ahead of the 2018 assembly polls).
“It was Mahatma Gandhi who had staunchly opposed intoxication and termed it as a social evil. On the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary, the state government should announce prohibition in the state,” Kaushik said.
Kaushik said, The Chief Minister has asked people to condemn Godse for his act. What Godse had done, he was punished for the same and was hanged till death.”