Fresh controversy broke between the government and opposition on Wednesday when Bharatiya Janata Party MP Giriraj Singh made allegedly racist remarks against Congress President Sonia Gandhi, questioning if she would have been "accepted" by Congress if she didn't have "white skin".
In a recorded video, the 62-year-old Minister of State for MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises) asks if Congress would have "accepted" Sonia Gandhi as a leader if she had been of Nigerian origin, alluding to her skin colour.
He goes further, hammering out any doubts to his intent — "If she wasn't a white skin, would Congress have accepted her?"
The comments have sparked outrage amongst Congress leaders, who have demanded an apology from the Prime Minister, and sacking of the BJP MP.
"It has become a fashion to make these kinds of remarks. Earlier too many BJP politicians made statements like this. But this is a union minister, and the Prime Minister must make a statement to explain this," said RPN Singh, former MoS for Home Affairs during the UPA government.
"He is there in the cabinet for these comments," said Congress leader Digvijay Singh, while another leader of the party, Sushmita Devi said it wasn't "befitting" of a minister to make such statements.
Brinda Karat of the CPI(M) too called for an explanation from the PM following Giriraj SIngh's "disgusting comment".
Giriraj Singh crosses all boundaries of shamelessness. Let's see what action the party takes on his sexist, racist comments.Shame on him.— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) April 1, 2015
Singh was commenting on Rahul Gandhi's disappearance from public eye following his leave of absence from the party. He compared his absence to the missing Malaysian Airlines plane which has not been found for over a year now.