The war of words between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over Nitin Gadkari's reference to parliament attack convict Afzal Guru as the “son-in-law” of the ruling party intensified on Friday with the Congress calling for the political and social boycott of the BJP president.
“Mr. Gadkari has used indecent language. We condemn it in strongest terms...There should be social and political boycott of people who make such remarks. The party whose president uses such language should apologise for such a nasty statement,” Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said.
Pointing to the anger in the party over Gadkari's remarks, Ahmed said “Congress has its cadre and if there was an untoward incident, the party will not be responsible.”
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari had said that Gadkari should be sent to a psychiatric facility.
"Obscenity, obnoxiousness, obtuseness should not be dignified by a response. It is very obvious that the esteemed president of the BJP has lost it completely. The BJP should take pity and deposit him in a psychiatric facility," Tewari said responding to Gadkari's remarks.
The BJP also reacted strongly to Tewari's comments and sought an apology from the Congress for its "utterly irresponsible and uncivilised" comment on the BJP president.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here: "The comment of the Congress spokesperson about the president of the principal opposition party is utterly irresponsible, lacking in political courtesy and utterly uncivilised."
Prasad said the BJP demands an apology from the Congress for making irresponsible comments about their party president.
"It is a well known fact that the mercy petition of Afzal Guru was deliberately delayed by the then home minister (Shivraj Patil). Can we deny that the file is still with the home ministry?... Therefore, I believe our president was expressing the view of the nation. The nation is pained by the government's action and that's what our president was expressing," Prasad added.
Addressing a rally in Dehradun Thursday, Gadkari had attacked the Congress over the delay in executing the death sentence of Afzal Guru.
"I want to ask Congress leaders is Afzal Guru your son-in-law?... Why is he being given special treatment?" he had asked. The BJP president said the Congress was a "party of people without guts" which could not fight terrorism.
Afzal Guru was sentenced to death for his role in the Dec 13, 2001, attack on parliament. He has filed a mercy petition with the president.