Sack Giriraj for Sonia remark: Congress in Karnataka

Bengaluru : Hundreds of cadres and supporters of the ruling Congress in Karnataka on Thursday sought the dismissal of union minister Giriraj Singh for his racial remark against Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi should sack Giriraj Singh from his ministry for hurting our feelings by making offensive remarks against our leader (Sonia Gandhi) and her husband (Rajiv Gandhi),” Congress leader and former city mayor S. Ramachandrappa told IANS during the protest demonstration.

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Though the BJP sought to play down the controversial remarks, as its three-day national executive committee meeting is underway in the city, Congress cadres took out a rally from their party office, shouting slogans against Giriraj Singh, garlanding his portrait with footwear and burning his effigies.

“We are shocked at the insensitivity of the Modi government and the BJP for not acting against Giriraj Singh even two days after his nasty remarks on Sonia and Rajiv,” Ramachandrappa said.

The 62-year-old Giriraj Singh is union minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), and the BJP Lok Sabha member from Nawada constituency in Bihar.

Giriraj Singh had said Congress party members chose Sonia Gandhi as their chief because she was ‘white-skinned’.

“Had Rajiv Gandhi married a Nigerian and if she (Sonia) was not white-skinned, would the Congress have then accepted her leadership? It is her white skin which has brought her to the helm,” Giriraj Singh said at Hajipur in Bihar on Tuesday.

Even as BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain termed the racial remark a non-issue since Giriraj Singh had apologised to Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, the Congress said it would continue its protest till firm action was taken against the minister by Modi.

“The BJP claims to be a party with a difference and disciplined. This is not the first time some of its leaders continue to offend, insult and humiliate others, especially national leaders and opposition parties since it came to power,” Ramachanrappa said.

On Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Giriraj Singh said his (Rahul Gandhi’s) absence from the country was similar to that of the missing Malaysian Airlines aircraft that disappeared on March 8, 2014 during a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur and remains untraced since then.

“If Sonia ji and Rahul ji have been hurt by my remarks, I express my regret,” Giriraj Singh told reporters on Wednesday in New Delhi after BJP president Amit Shah pulled him up for the remarks that caused national outrage.