Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday stirred a hornet's nest by his remarks that plans for minorities, Muslims in particular, must have the first claim on resources, with the BJP, its chief ministers and the RSS condemning it as having communal overtones.
"Such a statement does not behove a senior leader like the Prime Minister. It is unfortunate," Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, generally known for his anti-Muslim rhetoric, said after the conclusion of the NDC meeting.
He insisted that every citizen, irrespective of his caste and creed should have equal right over the resources of the country.
Such sentiments were echoed by Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh respectively. While Chouhan said that the Prime Minister's statement was "not only inappropriate but is dangerous also," Singh said that economic backwardness should be the sole criteria.
The RSS was more acerbic in the attack on the Prime Minister remarking that "this is precisely the language used by Mohammad Ali Jinnah before the partition."
"It is unfortunate our leaders have not learnt lessons from the tragic partition. They are pursuing the same politics of religion for electoral benefits," RSS leader Ram Madhav said.
"This is very unfortunate, appalling for a Prime Minister to say so," BJP chief Rajnath Singh said separately.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupendra Singh Hooda of Congress, however, justified the Prime Minister's remarks saying it should be seen in the context that majoirty of Muslims are poor.