“Rajiv Gandhi koi Nigerian lady se viyah kiye hote, gori chamra na hota to kya Congress party usko netritya sweekarti kya? (If Rajiv Gandhi had married some Nigerian lady, if she wasn’t white, would the Congress party have given her its leadership?)” Union minister of state Giriraj Singh was heard saying in footage aired by TV channels on Wednesday.
Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Nawada in Bihar, made the remarks after an interaction with the media at Hajipur, 20 km north of Patna, late on Tuesday. In other remarks aired by TV channels, Singh could be seen poking fun at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Singh’s remarks triggered a very strong response from politicians of other parties, the national media and also from within the BJP. This war of words got an international angle also when the Nigerian consulate officer stepped in to say “It is quite unacceptable, coming from an honourable minister in the Indian government,” Nigeria’s acting high commissioner, OB Okongor, said. “India, Nigeria have close ties, such remarks are not expected.”
“I am not going to comment publicly, but we have channels of communication and will be able to convey our remarks to Indian government,” he said.
It is believed that BJP President Amit Shah rebuked him, but it was akin to a gentle rap on the knuckles, sources said.
Singh a serial offender who slips again and again when making statements should be sacked from the cabinet by Modi is the refrain from everyone.