BJP President Nitin Gadkari did it again on Thursday, using an expression during his speech at Dehradun that had the Congress fuming.
But the response from Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari left the BJP fuming too.
“Is Afzal Guru the son-in-law of the Congress? Have you (Congress) given your daughter to him? Why is he getting special treatment?” Gadkari had asked.
He was referring to a conspirator in the December 2001 attack on Parliament who, despite having been given the death sentence in 2006, has yet to hang.
Earlier in May, Gadkari had provoked an uproar by calling Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal supreme Lalu Prasad ‘dogs who lick the feet of the Congress’.
On that occasion, following Mulayam and Lalu’s angry response, Gadkari had promptly apologised. This time, however, he refused to do so, claiming the remark the Congress took offence at was ‘just an Indian colloquialism’.
With Gadkari refusing to apologise, Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari responded: “It’s obvious the BJP president has lost it completely. The BJP should put him in a psychiatric facility. He needs serious help.”
Taking offence at Tiwari’s comments, however, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “The comments are utterly uncivilised and irresponsible. Gadkari was only expressing the anguish of those lost their loved ones in the Parliament attack.”
Privately many BJP leaders disapproved of Gadkari’s propensity for using borderline language. But they were inclined to be indulgent. “Such expressions are typical of Maharashtra politicians,” said one of them. “They prefer to be blunt.”