Amid sloganeering by party workers and a growing call for the sacking of Giriraj Singh who made a blatantly racist comment on Sonia Gandhi, the Congress President today dismissed the jibe, attributing it to the BJP minister’s “narrow mindset”.
Gandhi spoke about the subject for the first time after union minister Singh joked yesterday that her "white skin" helped her get the top party position.
"I would not like to comment on people who have a narrow mindset," Gandhi told reporters in a village in Madhya Pradesh, she was visiting to meet farmers affected by unseasonal rain.
Meanwhile, a court in Bihar's Muzzaffarpur has ordered the police to register an FIR against Singh, reported IBNLive.
Would not like to comment on people who have a narrow mindset: Sonia Gandhi on remarks made by Giriraj Singh #MindYourLanguage— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) April 2, 2015
A group of Congress workers staged a protest outside the residential complex where Singh lives. Shouting slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP and Singh, Congress workers gathered outside the Vitthal Bhai Patel House complex even though Singh had left for Bengaluru to attend BJP's National Executive meeting.
Soon, police swung into action and took away the banners from the protesters and foiled an attempt to burn Singh's effigy. The protesters were later bundled off in a police bus, reported ANI.
Congress politicians took serious exception to the derogatory remarks by Singh.
"When a minister uses such language nothing less than his resignation is acceptable. The language which was used for Sonia Gandhi, it seem that BJP people have lost their mental balance," party spokesperson Shobha Oza told ANI.
"We condemn the statement made by Giriraj singh and demand the prime minister to remove him from his post," said Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam.
Ironically, Nirupam himself insulted senior BJP leader Smriti Irani on a TV talk show and accused her of dancing for money.
There can be either Giriraj or Ramraj in this nation, and Modi has decided there will be Giriraj: Kabil Sibal #MindYourLanguage— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) April 2, 2015
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar said that there is no control over the ministers of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
"This is not the first time Giriraj ji has made such a controversial statement, he has made such statements in the past also, but I do not think this is going to affect Narendra Modi. He wants such people to be around him," Anwar said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Singh had said that his comment on Gandhi was made 'off the record' and added that it was being presented by the media in a different light.
"The things that are being shown by the media were something that was said was off the record. People say many kinds of things at home or outside. The way it was presented is a different issue. But If I have hurt anyone's sentiments including Sonia ji and Rahul ji, I regret what I said," he told ANI.
He further added, "If Rajiv (Gandhi) had married a Nigerian, things would have been different."
Meanwhile, Nigerian High Commissioner O B Okongor said his nation would initiate action against Singh in the ambit of good bilateral relation.
The Congress party reiterated that it would accept nothing less than a resignation from Singh for his controversial remarks on Gandhi.