Pragya Singh Thakur, BJP candidate from the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, on Thursday said that Nathuram Godse was a “deshbhakt (patriot)”, is a “deshbhakt (patriot)” and will remain a “deshbhakt (patriot)”.

“People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a befitting reply in these elections,” said Pragya.

Pragya was replying to a query on Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief and actor Kamal Haasan’s remark that the “first terrorist in independent India was a Hindu”, referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, which he made while campaigning in the Aravakurichi assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu.

His remark drew sharp criticism from the BJP as party leader Ashwini Upadhyay filed a complaint against Haasan.

This is not the first time that Pragya has made a controversial statement. In April, she had said that former Mumbai Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare died because she had cursed him. Karkare, who is regarded a martyr, died in action while fighting terrorists, including Ajmal Kasab, along with two more senior police officers Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar, who were killed outside Cama Hospital in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had defended BJP’s decision to field Pragya Singh Thakur in the Lok Sabha elections by saying that it was a symbolic reply to all those who labeled the Hindu civilisation as “terrorist”.

Pragya Singh Thakur, the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, is currently facing trial under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in a Mumbai court for allegedly conspiring and abetting a terror act and also has murder to criminal conspiracy charges against her. She is currently out on bail.