Bhopal: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday took cognisance of a statement made by BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse and sought a factual report from Chief Electoral Officer, Madhya Pradesh by Friday, May 17.

The action came a few hours after Pragya Singh Thakur apologised for saying that Godse was a ‘deshbhakt’, is a ‘deshbhakt’ and will remain a ‘deshbhakt’. She had said, “It was my personal opinion remark. My intention was not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. If I’ve hurt anyone I do apologise. What Gandhi Ji has done for the country cannot be forgotten. My statement has been twisted by the media.”

Her apology came after the BJP distanced itself from the statement made by her. Refuting her remark, party leader GVL Narasimha Rao said, “BJP does not agree with this statement, we condemn it. Party will ask her for clarification, she should apologise publicly for this statement.”

Hitting out at Pragya Singh Thakur and the BJP, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “India’s soul is under attack by successors of Godse, the BJP ruling dispensation. BJP leaders are describing the murderer of father of the nation as a true nationalist and declaring those who sacrificed their lives for nation like Hemant Karkare as anti-nationals.”

On the other hand, her opponent and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and state BJP over Pragya Thakur’s statement. He said, “Modi ji, Amit Shah ji & the state BJP should give their statements and apologise to the nation. I condemn this statement, Nathuram Godse was a killer, glorifying him is not patriotism, it is sedition.”

Earlier in the day, Thakur, while speaking to the media, had said, “Nathuram Godse was a ‘deshbhakt’, is a ‘deshbhakt’ and will remain a ‘deshbhakt’. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections.”

Her statement came in response to actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s statement that, “Independent India’s first terrorist was a Hindu”.

This is not the first time that Pragya Singh Thakur has stoked up a controversy during the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections 2019. Earlier she had faced the Election Commission’s ire over her remark on Babri Masjid demolition and her comment on 26/11 Mumbai attack martyr Hemant Karkare.