NEW DELHI: A Maharashtra IAS officer landed in trouble after her tweet that appeared to question the celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary. While the Nationalist Congress Party demanded that she be sacked, the officer said her tweet was written in a sarcastic vein but was taken at face value.
Officer Nidhi Choudhari, tweeting with the hashtag Godse on May 17, had appeared to question the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi and said his statues should be brought down and his photos taken off walls and currency notes.
Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress party said the officer – who works with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation – should be penalised. “We demand immediate suspension of IAS officer Nidhi Choudhari for her derogatory tweet against Mahatma Gandhi. She glorified Nathuram Godse, this should not be tolerated,” NCP leader Jitendra Awhad was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
After the controversy, the officer deleted the tweet. She also issued several clarifications, saying she revered the Mahatma. “I would never insult Mahatma Gandhi. Don’t they understand that I wrote this tweet sarcastically,” Ms Choudhari told NDTV. “I thanked Godse as Mahatma Gandhi did not have to watch these times… People have been writing so much negative and wrong things about Mahatma Gandhi on social media. The negative posts on Mahatma Gandhi have been more visible since January this year and that’s why I wrote this tweet,” she added.
The Godse controversy had started after Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur was pitched by the BJP against Congress’s Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal. Amid the furore over the candidate’s alleged terror links, the BJP hit out at the Digvijaya Singh for coining the term “Hindu terror”.
The Congress retaliated, saying it was now clear that the BJP are the “descendants of Godse”. Actor-politician Kamal Haasan weighed in, saying “Godse, the first extremist of independent India, was a Hindu”.
The BJP’s Pragya Thakur said Nathuram Godse was a “deshbhakt and will remain a deshbhakt”. But her controversial comments left her party embarrassed and she was asked to apologise.