New Delhi(PTI/ANI/UNI): Controversial BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh made a racist comment on Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, asking if the Congress party would have accepted her if she had not been white-skinned.
"If Rajiv Gandhi had married a Nigerian or if she (Sonia) wasn't white skinned, would Congress accept her as a leader?" said the BJP MP from Bihar during a meeting in Hajipur.
However, later back-tracking on his remarks, speaking to ANI, Giriraj Singh said, "During off record sessions, many things are said. If Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi are hurt by my statements, I regret what I said."
He further added, "People do talk off the record among each other, it's a different thing how it is presented."
The Minister, who had courted controversies in the past with remarks during Lok Sabha elections like people opposed to Narendra Modi can go to Pakistan, also mocked Rahul Gandhi's absence from the political scene and likened it to the "missing Malaysian airliner".
"Imagine a situation, if Congress was in power instead of us and had Rahul been the Prime Minister, and if for some reason, the PM had disappeared for more than 47 days.
"Absence of Congress Vice President is similar to that of the missing Malaysian airliner that still has not been located. The same way the Congress leader was not present in the budget session. No one in Congress is ready to speak. This is unfortunate for the Congress and a joke for the country," he said.
Congress leader and former minister of state for home RPN Singh demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should publicly apologise for Giriraj Singh’s racist remark.
“I strongly condemn the derogatory remarks used by a Union Minister against Smt. Sonia Gandhi. It is not just derogatory to Sonia Gandhi, but to the all women of this country. I think it has become a habit with BJP ministers to make these kinds of outlandish remarks. It is time for the Prime Minister who keeps saying that these kinds of remarks should not be made, but every week we had a remark made by some MP or some minister in the government. We seek apology from the Prime Minister,” he told ANI.
Reacting to Singh's comment, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said, " This is a very derogatory remark and in full contempt for working women, this is racist. In our country there is no code of conduct which can control such remarks, it's unfortunate."
Criticising Singh, Shobha Oza said, "I think Giriraj Singh ji has lost his mental balance, he needs to consult a psychiatrist."
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted, "When the mukhia of a party is guilty of targetting opposition leader with cheap personal attacks then can Giriraj Singh be far behind? Shame."
A day ago, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar allegedly advised the agitating nurses that they should not stage hunger strike in the sun because it will make them 'dark' and 'ruin their marital prospects'.
Singh, also faced severe criticism on social media for his comment.