Congress today took to streets demanding sacking of Union Minister Giriraj Singh by PM Narendra Modi for his controversial remarks against Sonia Gandhi, with party activists staging protests in national capital and Bengaluru where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have gathered for National Executive meet.
While the Youth Congress staged a protest outside a residential complex in Delhi where Giriraj Singh lives, another demonstration was staged by Delhi Mahila Congress outside BJP’s headquarters at 11, Ashoka Road in the national capital.
Police swung into action and took away the banners from the protesters who had gathered outside Vitthal Bhai Patel House complex. They foiled an attempt to burn Singh’s effigy. The protesters were later bundled off in a police bus.
Singh had apparently left for Bengaluru last evening to attend BJP’s National Executive meeting.
The protesters led by DPMC chief Onika Mehrotra were carrying placards and shouting slogans demanding removal of Singh, who is the minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises, from the Union Council of Ministers.
“How can the chapter be closed with the mere withdrawal of the statement. This is not enough,” Mehrotra told reporters. She also threatened to file an FIR against Singh for making “racist” comments against Gandhi.
Police had barricaded the stretch outside the BJP headquarters and a large numbers of police personnel were deployed at the spot. The protesters then marched toward Parliament Street Police Station to court arrest.
In Bengaluru, Congress and NSUI workers assembled at a major junction, about a km away from a hotel where top BJP leaders have gathered for the party’s two-day National Executive meeting beginning tomorrow.
They shouted slogans against Singh and burnt his effigy.
Karnataka Mahila Congress chief Manjula Naidu condemned Singh’s “racist” remark and said an apology from him would not do and he should be sacked as minister.
The protesters were whisked away by police.
The minister has kicked up a row with his remarks asking whether Congress would have accepted Sonia Gandhi’s leadership had she not been white-skinned.
“Had Rajiv Gandhi married a Nigerian woman and if she was not a white-skinned woman, would the Congress have then accepted her (Sonia’s) leadership?” he had told journalists on Tuesday.
The comments were slammed by a furious Congress which asked the Prime Minister to dismiss him and apologise to the nation. Various women leaders also attacked Singh saying it reflected his racial mindset and attitude towards women.
The Delhi Pradesh Mahila Congress (DPMC) alleged Narendra Modi’s silence over controversial remarks made by the minister reflected his ‘mann ki baat’.
“While his ministers keep making such statements, where is Prime Minister Modi who calls himself Pradhan Sevak? The BJP men keep making controversial statements and get away by just offering apologies. Modi is directly involved behind such statements and it is his ‘Mann ki baat’ the minister has said,” Delhi Mahila Congress Chief Onika Mehrotra said.
The protesters, including several women corporators and other office-bearers of the wing, were carrying placards and shouting slogans like ‘Sonia Gandhi Zindabaad, BJP hai hai’ and ‘naari ka apmaan, desh ka apmaan’.
They also smacked Singh’s effigies with chappals before setting it afire.
“If a Union Minister can make such a statement against a tall leader like Soniaji, what he must be thinking about common women? We are not going to tolerate such mindset. If Singh is not sacked, protests will be staged in other parts of the country,” Rachana Sachdeva, a DPMC office-bearer, said.
Meanwhile, protests were also witnessed in northern Indian cities Jaipur and Srinagar over Singh’s controversial remarks against Sonia Gandhi.
In Srinagar, protesters led by state PCC President Ghulam Ahmad Mir shouted slogans against Singh and BJP at Residency road and demanded that the Prime Minister sack the Union Minister of State for micro, small and medium enterprises.
In Jaipur, scores of Rajasthan Mahila Pradesh Congress Committee members protested against Singh and Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar for their “anti-women” remarks and burnt their effigies at Shaheed Smarak demanding a public apology.
Mahila Congress’ state president Shakuntla Rawat slammed the union minister for making “ugly remarks” against the Congress President, saying it “showed the narrow and poor mentality of BJP leader(s).”
Similarly, another BJP leader and Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had defamed the entire women community by making derogatory remarks against female nurses, Rawat said.
Protesters holding anti-BJP, anti-Modi banners and placards walked up to the Shaheed Smark and burnt the effigies.
They demanded a public apology from the two leaders and urged the Prime Minister to sack them amid chants of “Jago Narendra Modiji, Mahilaon ka Apman Ho Raha hai, Jago” (Wake up Narendra Modiji! Women are being insulted. Wake up!).
The protest was peaceful and after burning effigies they left the memorial circle, police said.
Singh has kicked up a row with his remarks asking whether Congress would have accepted Sonia Gandhi’s leadership had she not been white-skinned.
Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar was in the eye of a storm over his alleged advise to agitating nurses that they should not stage hunger strike in the sun because it will make them “dark” and “ruin their marital prospects”.