The top leadership of the ruling BJP is reportedly unhappy with its MP Anant Kumar Hegde for referring to the Indian freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi as an “adjustment” with the British. Party sources claim the lawmaker has been asked to tender an unconditional apology for his statements.
The former Union minister was heard in a video saying there are “two types of freedom fighters”. “One, which believed in Shastra (arms) and another in Shaastra (intellectual motivators). There was also another category of freedom fighters who used to ask the British how to carry out the freedom struggle,” he said.
“We will abide by whatever you say simply adjustment and understanding…. like 20-20 (cricket match),” the Uttara Kannada MP said about the freedom movement during a public event in Bengaluru on Saturday (February 1).
Hegde alleged the third category of freedom fighters had pleaded with the British to recognise their freedom struggle and requested that they be imprisoned. “They pleaded with the British. It’s enough if you properly take care of us, nothing more than that.”
Freedom fighters who did not sacrifice anything made the country believe that India attained independence through ‘Upavas Satyagrah’, he said, adding that the British were ‘frightened’ and gifted the nation freedom. He also wondered why the Father of the Nation was called ‘Mahatma’ (a great soul).
“Such people become Mahapurush (great people). Those who sacrificed their lives and worked towards big change in the country were dumped in the dark corners of history, but those who fought in adjustment with the British became freedom fighters with certificate… This is the tragedy of the country,” Hegde said.
Remark irks BJP, Opposition
A senior BJP leader said Hedge’s comments were “condemnable” and the party leadership is upset with him. “The party has conveyed its displeasure to him and asked him to take remedial measure. Any insult to Mahatma Gandhi is unacceptable,” he said. He said the MP is a “disciplined” member of the party and will do what he has been asked to.
Meanwhile, the Congress too slammed Hegde, with its spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill saying Gandhi does not need a certificate from the “cadre of Britishers’ chamchas and spies”. It is high time the BJP is renamed “Nathuram Godse Party”, he added.
Another Congress spokesperson, Abhishek Singhvi, tweeted, “Awaiting Narendra Modi who invokes Mahatma Gandhi at the drop of a hat especially when repackaging his ideas and to gain international credibility to comment on Mr Hegde who is a senior BJP Leader.”
(With inputs from agencies)