The Congress on Friday demanded the expulsion of former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat from the BJP for praising Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, as a patriot.
Trivendra Singh Rawat on Thursday said that while he did not agree with the killing of Mahatma Gandhi, Godse, in his assessment, was also a patriot.
"Godse killed Gandhiji, but that is a different matter. However, from what I have read about Godse, I can say that he was a patriot. However, I do not agree with the murder of Gandhiji," the former Uttarakhand CM said.
Taking on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Rawat said the former cannot be the flagbearer of Gandhian principles just because he shares the surname.
He added that Rahul "cannot change his identity by wearing the janeu (sacred thread).
"They are selling themselves in the name of Gandhiji," Rawat said.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at the party headquarters on Friday, the secretary of the Communications Department of AICC, Vaibhav Walia, hit out at Rawat over his praise of Godse.
Walia said, "It was not only an insult to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, but the entire country as well. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps praising Mahatma Gandhi, his fellow party leaders like Rawat and Pragya Thakur glorify his assassin."
"If the party does not act against Rawat, it would mean that the BJP endorses his assessment of Godse," he said.
Walia also asked the BJP to stop the "drama of praising Mahatma Gandhi abroad while glorifying his assassin back home".
The Congress leader said, "It was in the same context that Rahul Gandhi said repeatedly that there was a continuous fight between two ideologies in the country -- one of hatred of the BJP and another of love of the Congress".
"The remarks by BJP leaders like Rawat, Thakur, and Anant Hegde only prove Rahul Gandhi's point," he added.
"While one ideology is about hatred and violence, the other is about love and harmony. One ideology has resulted in unemployment and inflation while the other will lead to welfare and employment," the Congress leader added.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)