Karnataka BJP MP from Uttara Kannada, Anantkumar Hegde on Wednesday denied he made any controversial statement calling the Indian freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi as an ‘adjustment’ with the British. Speaking to ANI, Hegde stated that he never made any reference to Mahatma Gandhi.
“All media reports are false, there is a debate over something that I never uttered. I own my statement. I never made any reference to any political party or Mahatma Gandhi or anyone else. I was trying t categorise the freedom struggle. That is all,” Hegde said.
He added, “The speech is in public domain if anyone wants to see, it is available online and on my website. If there is any word that I have uttered against Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru or any freedom fighter, show me. This is a meaningless controversy.”
The MP’s statement comes a day after the BJP issued a show-cause notice to him. BJP Karnataka President Nalin Kumar Kateel stated that the party's central leadership has served the notice to Hegde after taking strong objections to his remarks targeting Gandhi and has sought an explanation from him.
Speaking at an event in Bengaluru on February 1, Hegde had questioned the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and described India's independence struggle as an "adjustment" with the British.
“Freedom fighters who did not sacrifice anything made the country believe that it attained independence through 'Upavas Satyagrah', Gandhi's preferred mode of agitation, and became Mahapurush (great person),” BJP MP Anant Kumar Hegde said.
“None of these so-called leaders were beaten up by the cops even once. Their independence movement was one big drama. It was staged by these leaders with the approval of the British. It was not a genuine fight. It was an adjustment freedom struggle,” he said. He also referred to Gandhi’s satyagrahas and hunger strike as “drama”.
Hegde’s controversial remarks also created a massive uproar in the Parliament, with the Congress raising slogans against the MP and the BJP as well. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the BJP leader has "insulted" Mahatma Gandhi, who is respected by people across the globe. Opposition members including Congress MPs jumped into the well displaying placards and shouting slogans. Congress members later staged a walkout and after a ruckus, the House was adjourned.