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Minister’s remarks rock Parliament, Rajya Sabha paralysed

Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti

New Delhi, Dec 2 (PTI) Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti has stoked a controversy by allegedly making communal remarks and using an expletive in an election rally here, leaving the BJP and the government embarrassed as an angry Opposition demanded that she be sacked.

The remarks that voters of Delhi should choose between “Ram’s sons” and “illegitimate sons” drew the ire of Opposition which protested in Parliament following which Jyoti expressed “deep regret” and apologised for her actions and said she did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings.

The issue rocked both the Houses as agitated opposition MPs disrupted proceedings, seeking an explanation from the Prime Minister and demanding 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 made in west Delhi 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.

Later, outside Parliament, the Minister was asked about demands for her resignation. “I have apologised and I have nothing else to say,” she replied.

BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said it was a “slip of tongue” and the issue should not be politicised.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said those in the government and the opposition should use dignified langugage and in the past UPA ministers too had crossed the line many times.

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