The war of words between the two major parties over the Jaipur blasts refused to subside with the BJP on Saturday demanding the removal of Shakeel Ahmed from the Union Ministry for his remarks against its leaders including LK Advani and the Congress outrightly rejecting it.
"His comments are irresponsible, shameful, lacking in political grace and thoroughly condemnable. How can he equate Advani and the Rajasthan Chief Minister with terrorists," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad asked.
Ahmed drew BJP's ire for his comments on Advani and Vasundhara Raje that those who are trying to take political advantage of the terror attacks in Jaipur should also be condemned just like terrorists.
Prasad said Ahmed as a Minister at the Centre should have realised that he was commenting against Advani, who has been the Deputy Prime Minister of the country, and Raje, the Chief Minister of a state.
"Shakeel Ahmed ought to be sacked from the Cabinet for his irresponsible utterances. The Congress should apologise for its leader's comments against Advani and BJP leaders," he added.
Ahmed, who is AICC spokesman, on the other hand, said the Congress outrightly rejects the BJP's demands. "I stand by the statement I made in the Congress briefing... We outrightly reject the demand for apology. We are proud of what we have said. What I said, I said in my capacity as national spokesman of the Congress and the party is standing by the statement," he said.
"I had compared the visit of Congress President Sonia Gandhi to Jaipur with that of BJP leader LK Advani," Ahmed said.
He said while Gandhi's visit to Jaipur had a soothing effect on the people, the BJP leaders, Advani and Vasundhara Raje included, have tried to take political mileage out of the blasts.
"Gandhi was nice enough not to attack the Rajasthan government on the law and order issue," Ahmed said. "What I had said was that all these people, instead of giving a healing touch, are trying to flare up communal tensions and this would directly or indirectly help the terrorists," he said.
Meanwhile, Prasad also said Advani's charge that there has been no credible intelligence sharing has in fact been echoed by National Security Advisor MK Narayanan who told the Cabinet there was no actionable intelligence.
"The country's National Security Advisor himself has admitted that there is weakness (in the intelligence gathering mechanism). After this, what is the need for attacking Advani and Raje," he asked.
Prasad also ridiculed Ahmed for describing Shivraj Patil as a "successful" Home Minister. "If the learned spokesperson of Congress calls Shivraj Patil a successful Home Minister despite his continuous record of failure, then I can only wish good luck to his knowledge and wisdom," the BJP spokesperson said.