Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Giriraj Singh was roundly slammed for his racist barb at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi with opposition leaders saying it reflected the thought process of the government even as BJP responded that it was up to party president Amit Shah to take a call on the issue.
“The remark made by a minister on Sonia Gandhi is highly condemnable. This reflects people’s thinking. Such remarks have not been made for the first time.
“Talk which is considered to be wrong and condemnable in society, when such things are said… the matter does not remain confined to the person who has said it, it is a reflection on the entire party and government as to what their thought process is,” said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad said that Singh should be “treated in the same way” as JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav when he had made objectionable remarks over the complexion of women.
“This man (Singh) should be treated the same way as JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav was when he made objectionable remarks on the skin colour of women. It (such comments) can only be made by Singh and those who are members of RSS,” Prasad said.
Singh again kicked up a row after 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 told journalists yesterday.
Singh’s Cabinet colleague DV Sadananda Gowda, meanwhile, said that it was up to the BJP President to take a call on the issue.
“It is left to the party president. The party president is a man of discipline. Wherever he sees some person going wrong, he will take him into confidence and he will then be advised not to do such things. It is not fair on my part to comment about the statements of my colleague,” he said.
Congress has already demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the immediate dismissal of Singh.
“Congress strongly deprecates and condemns the intemperate and distasteful remarks of Singh, bordering on insanity… Prime Minister must dismiss such a minister and apologise to the nation,” said the party’s communication department in-charge, Randeep Surjewala.
Strongly condemning Singh’s statement, CPI leader D Raja demanded that the Prime Minister should “not only speak out against it but also sack such people from his government”.
“The person (Giriraj Singh) has come to office taking an oath on the Constitution. His statement is an affront to the Constitution. Such people cannot hold positions in the government,” he said, adding that “first making such outrageous comments and then regretting them cannot be tolerated”.
Observing that Sonia Gandhi’s “public life was known to everybody” and she was the leader of the oldest party in India, Raja said that BJP and the Sangh Parivar “live in a medieval mindset thinking that this is Hindutva ideology”.
All political parties should not only condemn such comments but work for gender equality to ensure that women get their due place in all stages of life, the CPI leader said.