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Gadkari embarrasses BJP on LS vote dig
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
BJP president Nitin Gadkari caused major embarrassment to his party by using abusive and derogatory language against SP president Mulayam Singh and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, calling them at a public meeting in Chandigarh yesterday “Dogs licking the feet of Sonia Gandhi.”

And though Gadkari retracted his statement today offering conditional apology, he had done enough damage for his party to come to his defence..

But there was general shock and disgust at Gadkari’s remarks, with the supporters of Lalu and Mulayam on the streets raising slogans and burning his effigies in different cities.

Lalu held an impromptu press conference in Patna today where though he dismissed any suggestion of legal proceedings against Nitin Gadkari, he blamed it all on the anti-OBC mindset of RSS/BJP.

He said Gadakri had gone "mentally bankrupt" and even suggested, "He should hold both ears and apologise. He called us dogs. He needlessly abused us. We will teach him a lesson. He is a coward."

"We will first give Gadkari tablets to cure his mental bankruptcy, then put him on capsules and if the tablets and capsules fail, we will put him on injection," Prasad said.

Debunking the BJP’s charge of the two leaders cowering for fear of CBI, the RJD chief said that Gadkari was spearheading a campaign against the CBI to save his party leaders who had allegedly stashed 'unaccounted black money' with Swiss banks. "The BJP president is desperate," Lalu Prasad said.

In the case of Mulayam, his son and UP SP president Akhilesh Yadav and general secretary Mohan Singh were outraged by Gadkari’s comments. Threatening to sue Gadkari, Singh said here today that his party was seeking legal opinion and added that this reflected the deep-rooted RSS/BJP bias against people of lower caste. Earlier, Mulayam’s son Akhilesh Yadav said: “The Samajwadi Party follows Ram Manohar Lohia’s principles. It has faith in healthy change and decent democracy. We do not believe in using foul language even against our political rivals.”

Rubbishing reports that SP broke the unity of the Opposition by siding with the UPA and abstaining from voting in favour of the cut motion, Singh said, “In fact marshals were used by the UPA to throw our MPs out of Rajya Sabha during voting for Women’s Reservation Bill.” The RJD chief too had mentioned this in his press conference.

Congress also criticised Gadkari for using “Highly derogatory language” but said it was not surprised as the BJP president did not have the stature of a national politician. “Gadkari is justifying this impression with such kind of language,” party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said. Another spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan demanded that he should apologise to the nation for bringing politics to such a low.

The BJP naturally avoided commenting with its spokesperson Nirmala Sitaram refusing to answer any questions saying, “Our President held a press conference in Chandigarh today and explained the whole issue. He very quickly retracted his statement and apologised. For us the chapter is closed. We don’t want to say anything more on the issue.” During the Budget session BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar had targeted Lalu calling him a traitor, forcing Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj to apologise on his behalf the next day.

Meanwhile, a day after his “abusive” remarks against Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad created a furore, Gadkari today expressed regret over his remarks, saying “I regret the comment made yesterday and take back my words. I have a lot of respect for both the leaders. I did not mean to hurt anyone,” he said. 





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