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Sonia Gandhi dismisses Giriraj remark

Congress president Sonia Gandhi during her tour to Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh to assess crop damage and to reach out to farmers. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday declined to comment on the controversial remarks made against her by Union Minister of State Giriraj Singh.

“What did he say? I don’t think I should reply to people with such a narrow mindset,” she said.

Ms. Gandhi was speaking to reporters at the end of a 60-km-long road show, during which she met farmers whose crops were destroyed in the recent unseasonal hailstorm and rain. She interacted with the farmers in 10 villages.

Our correspondent Mahim Pratap Singh adds from New Delhi:

Mr. Singh, a BJP MP from Nawada in Bihar, had on Wednesday stirred a hornet's nest with his comments on Ms. Gandhi.

Agar Rajiv Gandhi koi Nigerian ladies se byaah kiye hote, gori chamra na hota, toh kya Congress party uska netritwa sweekarti kya? (Had Rajiv Gandhi married a Nigerian woman who did not have a fair skin, would the Congress have accepted her leadership?),” he said in a video, while talking to local Press at the circuit house in Hajipur on Tuesday.

His remarks not only offended citizens, and political leaders across party lines including his own, but also upset the West African nation which called the remarks “unacceptable” and in “very bad taste”.

The Nigerian High Commission demanded an apology over the insensitive remarks and took the matter to the ministry of external affairs.

“We expect the minister to withdraw the comments and apologise to the Nigerian people. We will notify our government about the issue,” Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria, O B Okongor said on Wednesday.

The BJP pulled up Giriraj Singh over the remarks, with party president Amit Shah and union minister Arun Jaitley reportedly asking him to tender an apology.

Mr. Singh later said he had made the remarks “off the record”.

“All sorts of things are said off the record. But if Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were hurt by my remarks, then I regret them," he said.

Congress leaders slammed the remarks. Party leader and former parliamentarian Raj Babbar even went to the extent of offering to pay for Mr. Singh's psychiatric treatment.

“I'm ready to bear the cost of Giriraj Singh's mental treatment at any asylum,” he said on Thursday.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 6:18:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sonia-gandhi-on-bjp-mp-giriraj-singhs-inflammatory-remarks/article7061384.ece

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