Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Saturday lashed out at BJP candidate for Bhopal Pragya Thakur saying that she “killed Gandhiji’s soul” by calling his assassin Nathuram Godse a “patriot”.

The 65-year-old child rights activist posted his comment on Twitter asking the ruling the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to leave the desire for small benefits and immediately remove leaders like her.

“Godse assassinated Gandhi’s body. But people like Pragya are killing his soul along with non-violence, peace and tolerance. Gandhi is above every party and politics. The BJP leadership must leave the desire for small benefits and immediately remove them from the party and follow ‘raj dharma’,” Satyarthi said in a tweet in Hindi.

Pragya, an accused in the Malegaon blast case, had last week 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.”

However, her remarks were not approved by the party which asked her to apologise amid outrage from the opposition.

Similar statements were also made by two other BJP leaders – Anantkumar Hegde and Nalin Kateel.

The BJP had distanced itself from the controversial statements made by the leaders saying that those were their personal opinions.

Party president Amit Shah further said that BJP has taken their statements seriously and sent the remarks to the disciplinary committee.

However, in a press conference on Friday, Shah defended the candidature of Pragya Thakur calling it ‘satyagraha’ against the fake case of saffron terror.