New Delhi, Dec 2: In an attempt to allay the tension her remarks triggered in Parliament, Minister of state for food processing industries Niranjan Jyoti on Tuesday apologised and said she did not have any ill intentions while making the remarks.
The mminister landed in the line of fire in Parliament on Tuesday, as opposition members criticised her over the use of abusive language at an election campaign in Delhi.
“But whatever words that I spoke, I express my deep regret and I accept what I said,” the minister said in the Lok Sabha.
At an election rally in Delhi Monday, Jyoti reportedly said that people of Delhi must decide if they wanted a government of Ramzaadon (followers of Ram) or a government of those who are illegitimate.
The Opposition demanded sacking of the minister for the use of abusive language.
As soon as Lok Sabha met for the day, Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress, took up the issue with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. He said the “objectionable” language used by Niranjan Jyoti created tension at a time when there has been quite a few communal riots.
Several Congress and Trinamool Congress members, too, rushed to the Well, shouting slogans. Both Houses witnessed brief adjournments over the protests, even as Speaker cautioned members to be mindful of their speech.
Congress leader Ashwani Kumar said: “It shows narrow-mindedness of BJP; such statement has never been made in history of democracy before.”
“She has no right to remain in the council of Ministers. I believe that the words, which were used by a Minister of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, is a new low in Parliament history,” he said, adding “Her expressing regret will not suffice.”
He further said: “Action must be taken against her and the Prime Minister must give an explanation in Parliament.”
Aam Aadmi Party’s ( AAP) leader Yogendra Yadav said that there is obscenity, ignorance and trepidation in the minister’s act.
“The issue is not that a politician has made such an obscene statement, the issue is that a Union minister has made such a statement,” Yadav said.
Jyoti is credited with helping the ruling BJP make inroads among the Dalit and backward classes in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. She is among the six BJP MPs drafted into the party’s campaign for the Delhi polls due early next year.
Demanding the minister’s resignation over the remarks, BSP supremo Mayawati said an FIR must be lodged in this regard.
Niranjan Jyoti, however, said, “I did not take name of any particular individual, community or party. I was talking about separatist parties and leaders who think of dividing the country…”
She later clarified her statement was for those who didn’t believe in Ram and unified India, adding her remarks must not be given any communal overtone. “Is it a crime to talk about Ram? How can talking about Ram be communal?”
Jyoti had also flayed Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son-in-law, Robert Vadra, who has been accused of making controversial land deals.
“The son of an ordinary family, who sold utensils (Vadra)… how did this man become a millionaire? They robbed the poor,” she reportedly said.
The BJP, however, defended Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, and said that whatever she said was probably a ‘slip of tongue’.
“Whatever Sadhvi Niranjan ji said was probably a slip on tongue on her part and it should not be politicized. Her intentions were not what we are projecting, we all have to keep in mind that in politics language is one of the most important ornaments, we have to see to it that our language is a purified one and it doesn’t hurt anyone,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told a news agency on Tuesday.
(With Agency Inputs)