Congress chief Sonia Gandhi dismissed Union minister Giriraj Singh’s racist remarks about her, saying she need not reply to people with a “narrow mindset”, but hundreds of party workers took to the streets demanding his resignation on Thursday.
As the row refused to die down, a court in Bihar ordered police to file an FIR against the minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises after a Congress leader filed a defamation case, accusing him of lowering the status of women and passing derogatory comments against the Congress president.
“What did he say? I think I should not reply to persons with such narrow mindset,” Gandhi said when reporters sought her reaction during a visit to rain-ravaged villages in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch district.
Singh expressed regrets for his remarks, but a miffed Congress refused to accept his apology and staged nationwide protests on Thursday.
From protests outside the residential complex in central Delhi where Singh lives to a demonstration in front of the BJP headquarters in the Capital, Congress workers shouted slogans and burnt effigies, asking the Modi government sack him immediately.
On Wednesday night, eggs and tomatoes were hurled at Singh’s home in Patna while banners and buntings bearing his name or photo have been pulled to pieces.
The minister had expressed regret for his remarks, saying these were made during a private conversation.
The BJP downplayed the controversy, saying Singh’s apology was enough. “The matter has ended and should not be made an issue by our opponents. BJP considers the matter as closed,” party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said in Bengaluru.