Chhattisgarh Congress chief Charan Das Mahant has said he will "sweep the party office with a broom" if asked by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, inviting ridicule from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which called him a "sycophant" who considers his post as that of a "fourth grade" employee.
"I follow the directives of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, I follow the orders of Rahul Gandhi...It's a clear cut example that if they will ask me to sweep Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (office), I will do that," Mahant, also a Union minister, told reporters on Monday.
Mahant's remark drew barbs from the ruling BJP with its spokesman Shivratan Sharma saying the lone Congress member of Parliament from the poll-bound state was engaging in sycophancy.
"It seems that Mahant feels that the post of acting president of the state Congress is a fourth grade job, therefore he is ready to pick up a broom and sweep the party office. It shows he is indulging in sycophancy," Sharma said.
"He (Mahant) has crossed all limits of sycophancy and the people of the state will not accept such sycophants," Sharma said.
However, Congress spokesman Shailesh Nitin Trivedi came to Mahant's defence and said the statement reflected his "dedication and commitment" to the party.
"The statement of Mahant should not be taken in any other way. He has just shown his dedication and commitment to the party," Trivedi said.
Mahant was made acting president of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee earlier this month after several top leaders, including its state chief Nand Kumar Patel, were killed in an ambush by Naxalites.