Giriraj Singh apologizes for remarks against Sonia Gandhi2 min read . Updated: 20 Apr 2015, 10:13 PM IST
Lok Sabha adjourned after Congress creates uproar over Giriraj Singh's comments, seeking apology from the Prime Minister
New Delhi: The opposition Congress party on Monday protested strongly in Parliament over personal remarks made against its party president Sonia Gandhi by central government minister Giriraj Singh, saying the statement had insulted not only all Indians but also Nigerians for its racism, later prompting an apology from the minister.
Soon after the Lok Sabha met for the day—the start of the second half of the budget session—Congress members stood up to protest against Singh’s remarks against Gandhi, terming it an attack on women everywhere.
Seeking an adjournment motion on the issue, leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge pointed out that lawmakers and ministers belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have continuously been making such irresponsible statements, which created fissures in society and hurt social harmony.
While rejecting a spate of adjournment motions on various issues moved by Congress, AIADMK and Left members, speaker Sumitra Mahajan then allowed the Congress’s Jyotiraditya Scindia the motion on Singh’s remarks saying she herself had been hurt by the remarks.
Both Sonia Gandhi and Singh were present in the House.
Scindia then launched into a strong criticism of the government, describing the remarks as shameful. In addition, he said, “It is also an insult to the Nigerians ...the Nigerian High Commissioner has also protested."
Scindia demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the resignation of Giriraj Singh, who is minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Speaking on behalf of the government, parliamentary affairs minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the government and the BJP did not approve of such remarks but added that there was no need to bring the Prime Minister into the picture.
But Kharge replied the Prime Minister was in the picture already, as the remarks had been made by a minister in his cabinet, which makes it a matter of collective responsibility of the council of ministers. In addition, he added, “PM is the Leader of the House...."
Later, as Speaker Mahajan took up the question hour, Congress members trooped into the Well raising slogans. The House was then adjourned for 20 minutes. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi entered the House just as it was adjourned. As soon as the House met again at 11:45am, Singh rose to say that his intention was not to insult anyone. But if his remarks had hurt anyone, “I regret it," he added.
The row involves remarks Singh made to his supporters in Hajipur, Bihar, on 1 April. “Had Rajiv Gandhi married a Nigerian woman and if she was not a white-skinned woman, would the Congress have then accepted her (Sonia’s) leadership," he had said.