New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday took potshots at BJP and RSS and called them "God-Se Lovers", in an apparent reference to remarks by Pragya Singh Thakur and two other BJP leaders in support of Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse.
"I finally got it. The BJP and the RSS... Are not God-Ke Lovers. They are God-Se Lovers," Rahul tweeted.
His tweet came after BJP leaders - Thakur, Ananthkumar Hegde and Nalin Kumar Kateel - made pro-Godse remarks.
At a press conference here on Friday, BJP chief Amit Shah said that the party does not endorse the comments made.
Thakur, BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal, had on Thursday sparked an outrage after she called Godse a "patriot".
When questioned about actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan's remark that India's first terrorist was a Hindu (in reference to Godse), she said, "Nathuram Godse was a 'deshbhakt', is a 'deshbhakt' and will remain a 'deshbhakt'."
However, Thakur, BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal, later apologised for her remark.
Soon after her remark, Kateel, BJP MP from Dakshina Kannada, tweeted, "Godse killed one, Kasab killed 72, Rajiv Gandhi killed 17,000. You judge who is more cruel in this?"
Kateel later deleted the post and apologised on the micro-blogging site.
Union Minister Ananthkumar Hegde also took to Twitter and wrote, "Am glad that 7 decades later today's generation debates in a changed perceptional environment and gives good scope for the condemned to be heard upon. #NathuramGodse would have finally felt happy with this debate."
The BJP MP from Uttara Kannada also deleted the post and claimed that his account was hacked.
"My Twitter account has been breached twice in the past one week and certain tweets have been posted on my timeline which has been discarded and deleted. Regret the posts attributed to me," he said in a fresh tweet.
In another post, Hedge wrote, "My account was hacked since yesterday. There is no question of justifying Gandhi ji's murder. There can be no sympathy or justification of Gandhi ji's murder. We all have full respect for Gandhi ji's contribution to the nation."
In a damage-control exercise, BJP president Shah took to Twitter on Friday and said that whatever they stated were their personal opinions and the party had taken their statements seriously.
"Statements of Ananthkumar Hegde, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Nalinkumar Kateel are their personal opinions. BJP has nothing to do with it. They have withdrawn their statements and apologized. BJP has taken their statements seriously and sent these statements to disciplinary committee," he said.
"The disciplinary committee will seek explanation from all the three leaders and will submit the report to the party within 10 days," Shah added.
Keep yourself updated on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 with our round-the-clock coverage -- breaking news, updates, analysis et al. Happy reading....