Rural Development Minister C P Joshi was forced to eat his words in the Lok Sabha after his remarks on the BJP government in Chhattisgarh caused a furore in the House.
During a question on payment of wages under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the BJP members demanded that they be increased.
“Rs 75 dene ki himmat nahi hai aur maang kar rahe hain Rs 100 ki (they can’t pay Rs 75 and are demanding Rs 100). They are playing politics,” Joshi said of the BJP government in Chhattisgarh.
The remark upset the BJP and Shiv Sena members, who demanded an apology and that the minister withdraw the remarks.
Finance Minister and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee stepped in. “I understand the sentiments of members and will ask my ministerial colleagues not to offend these sentiments,” he said.
The BJP members insisted that Joshi take back his words.
Leader of Opposition LK Advani asked the minister to be respectful towards the BJP-ruled states.
“I would expect minister to be respectful towards states. We have a federal structure in which the Centre should respect states and states should respect the Centre.”
Joshi said he didn’t mean to offend any member. “I wanted to say that they (Chhattisgarh government) don’t have the capacity to pay... and if it has hurt the sentiments, I withdraw the remarks.”