Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti has stoked a controversy by allegedly making an inflammatory speech and using an expletive in an election rally here, drawing severe flak from opposition which accused BJP of pursuing divisive politics and demanded that she be sacked.
The remarks left the Narendra Modi government embarrassed as it faced the opposition’s ire in Parliament following which Jyoti expressed “deep regret” over her actions and said she did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings.
The issue rocked both the Houses as agitated opposition MPs protested the remarks and demanded an apology from Jyoti, who is Minister of state for food processing industries and had joined the Narendra Modi Ministry early last month.
“The Prime Minister should give an explanation,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said.
BSP chief Mayawati said the minister’s remarks were against the secular ethos espoused by the Constitution and do not behold a person occupying a constitutional post.
The BJP should sack her, she said.
She and CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury demanded that an FIR be filed against Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.
The Congress alleged that Jyoti had insulted the people of Delhi and she should issue an apology while the Aam Aadmi Party said it was the BJP’s real face.
“The divisive thinking and divisive politics of the BJP has been exposed,” Congress leader Ambika Soni said.
Niranjan was initially defiant saying she was only referring to the “anti-nationals” in her speech yesterday.
“I was referring to the anti-nationals, those who compromise with its borders, its integrity. What else do you call people who loot the nation…? What should we call them? Why is it being objected to,” she said when questioned on the use of expletives.
Manish Sisodia of Aam Aadmi Party said, “This is the real character of BJP. Their language shows what kind of work they are doing at the Centre and what kind of work they will do for Delhi,” said.
Delhi Congress leader Mukesh Sharma said, “There can be nothing worse than what she said. She must apologise to the people of Delhi.”
Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) also attacked the government saying a minister had used objectionable language against a large part of the country’s population. Expressing his anger he said.
“Those who should have been in jail, have come to Parliament.”
With the din continuing and several members speaking at the same time, Kurien remarked that he is a “human being and has only two ears to listen to, unlike Ravana who had ten heads and twenty ears.”
However, the opposition continued to protest.
Former Union Minister and Congress leader Ashwani Kumar was heard saying that they were not ready for such insults by ministers.
“I agree that ministers should use decent language but the Chair can take conginsance if anything is said in the House,” Kurien said, adding that members can raise the matter under appropriate rules. “Go by the rules,” he said.
As the opposition refused to relent, he adjourned the House for ten minutes.
Earlier, Minister Birender Singh took affirmation of allegiance to the Constitution in the House.
The House also condoled the death of of three former members Ananda Pathak, Krishan Kumar Deepak and Shiv Pratap Singh.