Bengaluru: The BJP high command has asked two of its leaders from Karnataka, former union minister Anantkumar Hegde and party spokesperson in the state Vaman Acharya, to apologise for their remarks denigrating Mahatma Gandhi.
Hegde had Saturday described the Gandhi-led freedom struggle as “drama” and claimed that it was “staged with the consent and support of the British”. Acharya had Monday backed Hegde, saying the MP’s comments were “thought-provoking”.
“There is a large section of society that feels that there were some odd characteristics with Mahatma Gandhi despite all his goodness,” Acharya had told ThePrint. “Hegde represents the section of people who question the way our freedom struggle was fought. His comments are to be given some serious thought.”
After the story was published, however, Acharya contacted ThePrint to tender an unconditional apology.
“I would like to tender my apology for my comments on Gandhiji. I am an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhiji,” he had said. “I would also like to say that if the Central leadership finds Hegde’s comments inappropriate, then action may be taken against him.”
The two leaders have now been asked to apologise, ThePrint has learnt.
Hegde holds his ground
While Acharya has retracted his remarks, Hegde continues to hold his ground saying he had not said a word against Nehru or Gandhi in his speech.
“The speech is in the public domain. If anyone wants to see, it is available online on my website,” he told ANI Tuesday. “I never said a word against Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru. I was just discussing our freedom struggle.”
Sources in the BJP, however, told ThePrint that the party’s central leadership has taken the comments by both Acharya and Hegde very seriously and sought a report from the state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel.