Andhra Pradesh BJP State Secretary Rameshnaidu Nagothu has landed in trouble after a tweet from his official account praised Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse. A tweet posted from his account on November 15, on the occasion of Godse’s death anniversary, called Godse “one of the greatest patriot” in India.
“Today, on his death anniversary, I salute #Nathuram_Godse with outmost gratitude. The true and one of the greatest patriot ever born in bharatbhoomi (sic)" the tweet read. However, after facing backlash, Rameshnaidu deleted the tweet, and claimed that the “objectionable post” was not written by him but by his social media team. “Those who handle my Twitter have made an objectionable post. The post and their services have been removed,” he wrote.
నా ట్విట్టర్ ను handle చేస్తున్నవారు అభ్యన్తరకరమైన post పెట్టారు దానిని , వారి సేవలను తొలగించడమైనది— Rameshnaidu Nagothu (@RNagothu) November 15, 2020
This is not the first time that a BJP leader has praised Godse, a right-wing activist. BJP MP from Bhopal Pragya Thakur has also called Godse a patriot on multiple occasions. In November 2019, Pragya called Godse a “deshbhakt" (patriot) in the Lok Sabha. She had interrupted DMK member A Raja as he read a statement by Godse on why he killed Gandhi, during a discussion on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill. "Do not cite the examples of a patriot," Pragya had said, leading to massive outrage.
The comment was expunged by the Speaker. Several BJP leaders, including National President for the party JP Nadda, had condemned Pragya’s statement and claimed that the party does not support such statements or ideology. Pragya later apologised for hurting sentiments through her views, and claimed that her words had been taken “out of context”.
However, a rising approval towards Godse among right-wing extremists has been reported in recent years in the country.
Rameshnaidu Nagothu has been the state president in Andhra Pradesh for the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP. After the BJP’s recent victory in the Dubbaka bye-poll in Telangana, Ramesh Naidu and BJP State President Somu Veerraju had said that the BJP was working towards strengthening the party and recruiting leaders to make its mark in upcoming elections in the state, including the local body polls and a bye-election in the Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency.