'It is like Pakistan saying we will fight terrorism'
Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, comparing her resolve to fight corruption to Pakistan saying it is combating terrorism.
Gadkari's taunt quickly triggered a fresh war of words with the Congress, which said he has reduced the platform of BJP to "gutter-level politics".
Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan demanded an apology from Gadkari for his "outrageous" remarks.
"Sonia Gandhi says she will fight corruption. I say it is like Pakistan saying we will fight terrorism," Gadkari said in Kolkata.
Image: BJP chief Nitin Gadkari
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
'Gadkari has reduced the platform of BJP to gutter level politics'
"When Pakistan says we will fight terrorism, even the people of Pakistan and the rest of the world don't believe them. Similarly, when she says so (on corruption) not even Congressmen will believe her," he said while addressing a BJP meet.
Jayanti Natarajan, in a hard-hitting response to the BJP chief's outburst against Sonia, said, "Gadkari has reduced the platform of BJP to gutter level politics."
"He is unfit to play a role at any level or democratic polity. To compare the noble sentiments of the Congress president and her resolve to fight corruption to Pakistan fighting terrorism shows the mindset of Gadkari who comes from an ideology that breeds hatred, division and murder," she said.
Image: Congress president Sonia Gandhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
'Throttling the voice of democracy'
"We demand an apology from the BJP for the outrageous remarks made by the BJP president...He should apologise for the remarks," she added.
Gadkari also alleged that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was trying to throttle the voice of democracy and creating an "emergency" like situation in the country.
Accusing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and SoniaGandhi of being 'fascists', Gadkari said, "The government is creating an emergency like situation and forcefully throttling the voice of the democratic movement".
Image: Security officials use a metal detector at the site of an explosion in Peshawar
Photographs: Fayaz Aziz/Reuters
'UPA government mercilessly beat sadhus'
He also equated UPA government's 'irresponsible' crackdown on Baba Ramdev's movement against black money at Ramlila maidan in New Delhi to the Jalianwala Bagh massacre.
"The UPA government mercilessly beat the sadhus and the children and stripped off the clothes of the women. Even Baba Ramdev was not spared the UPA government's wrath," he alleged.
"Is it wrong to speak against black money and corruption? Why did the government crack down on people who were conducting a peaceful non-violent movement in the dead of the night? Why is the government reluctant to publish the names of the people who have stashed away money in foreign banks," Gadkari asked.
Image: Baba Ramdev
'Real culprits are still moving freely'
Claiming that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in the know of the 2G spectrum allocation process, Gadkari said, "The files went to the cabinet and were passed from there. Is it justified to believe that the prime minister had no knowledge of the deal? Why was there no tender"?
"The prime minister signed all the files. So why should he not be responsible? What were the group of ministers and expert finance committee doing," Gadkari asked.
"In the Commonwealth Games, Suresh Kalmadi was made a scapegoat. The real culprits are still moving freely and no action is being taken against them," Gadkari added.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters