Hajipur (Bihar): Union Minister Giriraj Singh has again kicked up a major row with racist remarks, wondering if Congress would have accepted Sonia Gandhi's leadership if she was not white-skinned, a statement condemned by the party which asked the Prime Minister to dismiss him and apologise to the nation.
"Had Rajiv Gandhi married a Nigerian woman and if she was not a white-skinned woman, would the Congress have then accepted her leadership?," he told journalists yesterday.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh
Various women leaders also attacked Singh, who is minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises, saying it reflected his racial mindset and attitude towards women.
The Minister, who had courted controversies in the past with remarks during Lok Sabha elections like people opposed to Narendra Modi can go to Pakistan, also mocked Rahul Gandhi's absence from the political scene and likened it to the "missing Malaysian airliner".
"Imagine a situation, if Congress was in power instead of us and had Rahul been the Prime Minister, and if for some reason, the PM had disappeared for more than 47 days.
"Absence of Congress Vice President is similar to that of the missing Malaysian airliner that still has not been located. The same way the Congress leader was not present in the budget session. No one in Congress is ready to speak. This is unfortunate for the Congress and a joke for the country," he said.
When asked about his controversial comments, Singh, who was in Delhi today, refused to comment. As his remarks snowballed into a major controversy, the BJP leader said if his comments have hurt Gandhi, he regretted them.
"If Soniaji and Rahulji have been hurt by my remarks, I express my regret," he said even as he maintained that his remarks were "off the record" and suggested that media was blowing it out of proportion.
But a furious Congress was unrelenting in its attack.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi must dismiss such a minister and apologise to the nation, an AICC statement said.
The statement, issued by Randeep Singh Surjewala, Incharge Communications of AICC, said the party "strongly deprecates and condemns the intemperate and distasteful remarks...bordering on insanity".
"It appears that continuous quest to appease Prime Minister has made him lose his balance. Such remarks are
reflective of lack of moral fibre in BJP and its cadre," the party said.
"I think Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept him in the cabinet only to make such statements and probably BJP does not have a better leader for Bihar," senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh said.
Another Congress leader Manish Tewari said it was for Modi to reflect as to what kind of "elements and bizarre creatures" are there in his government.