BJP MP Anant Kumar Hegde on Tuesday (February 4) sought to clarify his statement on India’s freedom struggle, saying he never made any reference to any political party or Mahatma Gandhi. “All related media reports are false, I never said what is being debated over,” he said after a controversy erupted over his remarks.
The Uttara Kannada MP had triggered a row for allegedly referring to the freedom movement led by Gandhi as an “adjustment” with the British during a public event on February 1. The top party leadership was unhappy with his remarks and asked him to tender an unconditional apology, party sources had said.
“I own my statement made on 1 Feb, 2020. I never made any reference to any political party or Mahatma Gandhi or anybody else, I was just trying to categorize freedom struggle. The speech is in public domain if anyone wants to see, it is available online and on my website. I was just discussing about our freedom struggle,” he told news agency ANI.
The lawmaker also termed all the media reports on the incident as false, and said it was an “unnecessary controversy”. Reports suggest Hegde had alleged a section of freedom fighters had pleaded with the British to recognise their freedom struggle and requested that they be imprisoned.
His remarks drew sharp criticism from the opposition camp with Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill saying Gandhi does not need a certificate from the “cadre of Britishers’ chamchas and spies”. Abhishek Singhvi, another spokesperson, said he is waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to comment on the matter.
The incident also echoed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday with Congress members shouting slogans and walking out of the House after accusing the ruling party of doing “Godse politics”. Opposition members also jumped into the well displaying placards and shouting slogans without paying heed to numerous requests of the Speaker.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said they were expecting a response from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on the controversial remarks, responding to which, Joshi said members of the BJP are real “bhakts” and followers of Gandhi while the Congress is a follower of “fake Gandhis like Rahul and Sonia Gandhi”.
(With inputs from agencies)