Congress asks Gadkari to apologise for Afzal remark, BJP calls objection uncivil

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 10 2010, 07:31am hrs
Stung by BJP president Nitin Gadkaris controversial remark calling Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru the son-in-law of the Congress, the ruling party at the Centre on Friday demanded his social and political boycott.

Criticising the UPA government for the delay in hanging Guru, Gadkari said at a BJP rally in Dehradun on Thursday night, I want to ask the Congress leaders if Afzal Guru is their son-in-law Have you given your daughter to him Why is he being given special treatment

His remarks drew strong condemnation from the Congress. AICC spokesman Manish Tewari said that the BJP president had lost his mind and needed psychiatric help. The remark smacks of obscenity, obnoxiousness and obtuseness. It is very obvious that the esteemed president of the BJP has lost it completely. The BJP should take pity on him and put him into a psychiatric facility. The man needs serious help, said Tewari.

Addressing a press conference later, another Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed condemned the BJP president for his remarks and said that the party would not be responsible if its grassroots workers started reacting to it. Gadkari has used condemnable and disgraceful language against the Congress. There should be social and political boycott of those who use such petty language. If something untoward happens, the Congress will not be responsible. We want an apology from the party which appoints such people its president, said Ahmed. Asked what he meant by social boycott of Gadkari, the spokesman said that people should keep away from the functions that the BJP president attends.

When asked by reporters in Dehradun on Friday whether he would apologise for his remarks, Gadkari said, I have said nothing wrong. I stick to my stand and so there is no need (to apologise). Defending its president for his controversial remarks, the BJP on Friday said it was constructive criticism and demanded an apology from the Congress for using uncivilised language against its leader.

The remarks of Congress spokesperson (Manish Tewari) against Nitin Gadkari were utterly uncivilised, utterly irresponsible and lacked political courtesy, BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said here.

We want to know from the Congress president whether it is the view of the Congress party and whether it is the language of the party. We demand an apology from the Congress for such remarks against leader of an opposition party, said Prasad.

Asked if Manish Tewari had also not crossed the line in his reaction against Gadkari, Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said that Tewaris words might have been different but they were also meant to condemn BJP presidents petty and disgraceful language.

Prasad said Gadkaris remarks should be seen as constructive criticism of the governments stand on Guru. He was summing up the feelings of the kin of those in Parliament attack. In fact, Guru had gone on record to say that the plan was to eliminate the entire political leadership of the country, the BJP chief spokesman said when asked if the party chief should be more careful in making statements.

It is not the first time that Gadkari has courted controversy with his remarks. Just two months ago, he made some derogatory remarks against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD leader Lalu Prasad.

Referring to the Yadav duos last-minute support to the government on the Opposition-sponsored cut motions in Parliament, Gadkari had said that these leaders were roaring like lions but later bowed like dogs to lick the feet of Sonia and the Congress.