Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's controversial "puppy" remark in the context of the 2002 Gujarat riots created a political uproar on Friday, with many parties saying he should apologise.
The context: asked if he had regrets regarding the 2002 Gujarat riots, Modi said a Supreme Court-appointed SIT had given him a clean chit, adding that as a human being he would have felt sad even if a puppy had come under the tyre of a care he was in.
The Congress demanded that Modi should apologise.
"Thousands of people were killed in the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 and in the backdrop the analogy used by Narendra Modi needed to be strongly condemned. There is no place for such a comparison in civilised India," party General Secretary Ajay Maken told reporters. "It is reflective of his perverse mindset. It is totally against the idea of India....."
The BJP defended him, with spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman saying the attempt to misinterpret the remarks by quoting them out-of-context was "despicable".
Samajwadi Party spokesman Kamal Farooqui took strong exception to Modi's comment: "It is a very sad, very humiliating and very disturbing statement... What does he (Modi) think, that Muslims are worse than even puppies? " Farooqui said. "He should be ashamed for using such a language. The earlier he apologises, the better it will be. Otherwise, there will be dangerous consequences."
JD (U) leader Shivanand Tiwari said Modi's "psycho-analysis should be done on him". He added that it would be dangerous if such a person becomes PM.
CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat was scathing. "The expression of regret just doesn't come to Modi... (He) has been justifying that genocide in different ways," she said. "Whether it is a genocide, whether it is a cold-blooded murder, whether it is in the name of encounter....It is a governance that has in it certain components which are against the Constitution of India and against basic human principles."
CPI leader D Raja described his comments as "desperate attempt to deceive people and hoodwink the Indian masses."
Shiv Sena, however, came out in support of Modi saying the nation's leadership should be in the hands of a Hindutva leader. "We welcome Modi's stand. It was our strong belief from the time of Balasaheb Thackarey that the nation's leadership should be in the hands of a Hindutva leader. Modi's stand will benefit NDA," party spokesperson Sanjay Raut, MP, said.