Giriraj gem again: Had Rajiv Gandhi married Nigerian, would she be leader?

Singh subsequently expressed 'regret' over the statement, but complained that what he had said had been 'off the record'.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 2, 2015 6:45 am
Giriraj Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Giriraj singh Sonia remark, Giriraj singh BJP, Giriraj Singh racist comment, giriraj singh video, giriraj singh remark, india news, nation news Giriraj Singh subsequently expressed ‘regret’ over the statement, but complained that what he had said had been ‘off the record’.

Union minister Giriraj Singh has been caught on camera saying that had Rajiv Gandhi married a “Nigerian” woman instead of the “fair-skinned” Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party would not have accepted her as its leader.

Also Read: Nigerian envoy takes strong objection to Giriraj Singh’s comments

Hours after the video became public, an appalled Nigerian High Commission demanded an apology, and said that it might file a complaint with the Ministry of External Affairs. The Congress condemned the remarks as “intemperate and distasteful”.

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Singh subsequently expressed “regret” over the statement, but complained that what he had said had been “off the record”. At an election meeting last year, Singh, who is the union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, had said that all those who were opposed to Narendra Modi should prepare to leave for Pakistan.

In a video that was made on Tuesday night, and became public on Wednesday, Singh, the BJP MP from Nawada in Bihar, is heard saying, “Agar Rajiv Gandhi koi Nigerian ladies se byaah kiye hote, gori chamra na hota, toh kya Congress party uska netritwa sweekarti kya? (Had Rajiv married a Nigerian lady, had she not been fair-skinned, would the Congress have accepted her leadership?)”

Watch the video below

Singh was in Hajipur, and was talking informally to reporters at the local Circuit House. Loud guffaws can be heard after his comments; Singh himself is seen smiling broadly in the video.

Singh, who returned to Delhi on Wednesday morning, told reporters later in the day, “On many occasions, many things are said off the record… but still, chahe Soniaji hon, chahe Rahulji hon, ya anya koi, kisi ka bhi agar meri baaton se dil dukha hai, chot pahunchi hai, toh main iske liye khed prakat karta hoon. (be it Soniaji, Rahulji or anyone else, if I have hurt them, I express regret…)”

In another part of the Hajipur video, Singh is purportedly heard comparing Rahul Gandhi’s current absence to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, in which 239 passengers and crew were lost last year.

…Rahulji kahaan hain… yeh toh bhai… Asia ka ek jahaaj hai, kuchh gayab hua, aaj tak pataa nahin kahaan chalaa gaya… usi tarah se Congress netritwa… (Where is Rahulji… there was this aircraft that disappeared, no one knows where it went… in the same way, the Congress leadership…),” Singh purportedly says.

In the afternoon, the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria, O B Okongor, said the minister’s comments were “in very bad taste” and “unacceptable”.

“We expect the minister to withdraw the comments and apologise to the Nigerian people. We will notify our government about the issue,” he said. Asked if the High Commission would formally complain to the Ministry of External Affairs, Okongor said, “We need to file a complaint.”

In Patna, RJD chief Lalu Prasad said Singh’s remarks were the products of the “dirty politics” of the RSS. “Giriraj Singh should be made to wear bangles and a bindi, and made to walk around with his face blackened. This is dirty politics,” Lalu said. He added it was time a law was brought to discourage such statements. “But what one can expect from a party influenced by the RSS?”

In Delhi, the Congress demanded Singh’s dismissal from the Ministry, and rejected the minister’s defence that he had spoken “off the record”.

”Congress strongly deprecates and condemns the intemperate and distasteful remarks of union Minister Giriraj Singh bordering on insanity. It appears that the continuous quest to appease Prime Minister Modi has made him lose his balance. Such remarks are reflective of the lack of moral fibre in the BJP and its cadre,” Congress communications department head Randeep Surjewala said.

Surjewala said Singh was known for “similar vexation in the past”, referring to his April 2014 comment about Modi’s opponents being packed off to Pakistan. He also mentioned an alleged theft at Singh’s Patna home in July last year, in which a sum bigger than what the minister had told the police was recovered from the alleged thief.

“Perhaps he is the only person who refused to reclaim Rs 1.14 crore of currency as also US dollars recovered by police after apprehending those who committed a theft in his house. For conduct of this nature, he was rewarded by Prime Minister Modi by appointing him as a Minister in union cabinet,” Surjewala said.

In response, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said that Singh has already expressed regret. “However, the moot question remains is that the Congress is a family-run political party and (Sonia) had become the president only by virtue of her marriage, not by merit. Congress needs to explain it.” he said.

The Bihar BJP leadership, however, disowned Singh’s remarks. A senior BJP leader in Patna called the minister a “constant trouble-maker”. Singh, a prominent upper-caste Bhumihar leader from Lakhisarai, had caught the central leadership’s eye after he started to aggressively take on Nitish Kumar to defend Modi around the time of the split between the JD(U) and BJP in Bihar.

In Delhi, BJP spokesperson Rao, when asked about Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar’s alleged advice to agitating nurses that they should not be out in the sun because it would make them “dark” and “ruin their marital prospects”, said, “Some of these comments are avoidable, as such comments receive a lot of media attention. One should be careful about making statements.”

 

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  1. J
    Joseph
    Apr 2, 2015 at 9:14 am
    A stupid topic that doesn't deserve a doggone discussion.
    Reply
    1. S
      Sadda
      Apr 2, 2015 at 6:48 am
      Look at our filmi heroines - north, south, east, west. Do they look gori, gori or Sawli, Sawli. Even the heroes for that matter. It is a matter of physical attraction and dominant taste trend and marketability. See the advertising models. Are they representative of people cross- section. NO, it is a FACT. Calling it racism is fashionable to toe the line of Eurocentric paradigm of looking at people. In USA you have fill in your race in filling many a forms. In one extended family in India it is common to have people with many shades of skin color. Am also reminded of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's story of a dark skinned girl. I cried reading that story. All this Congress and related outrage is hypocritical.
      Reply
      1. T
        TIHAEwale
        Apr 1, 2015 at 1:59 pm
        Nation deserved this Minister because when we elect such leaders who may not clear a cl III vacany test. How can he know the natives inhabiting Southern parts of India get dark compleion due to the proximity to equator while those have crossed Khyber p to India have features of Greek. So Giriraj and his likes can enjoy talking nasty because we elected him and his PM irrespective of intentions have to have likes of Giriraj on his back.
        Reply
        1. T
          TIHAEwale
          Apr 1, 2015 at 7:06 pm
          ignore Giriraj his speeches are outburst of a man who had boils in the area covered by langot.
          Reply
          1. A
            ABDUL
            Apr 1, 2015 at 10:36 pm
            @ shyamal ganguly: Congress is pro-USA?? Are you crazy? Have you heard of nehrus non alignment policy? So u didn't lik Modi's overtures to Obama during republic day?
            Reply
            1. A
              A.Bhatia
              Apr 1, 2015 at 9:55 pm
              Its surprising and shocking that, Giriraj Singh even after warnings from BJP in the recent past, has again dared to make a very controversial comment. Till when shall we have to tolerate such leaders who are blot on BJP as well as on India? Should BJP not set a good example by expelling Mr Giriraj Singh from Party?
              Reply
              1. A
                Anurag Srivastava
                Apr 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm
                Shri Giriraj should first explain his bacgroung.
                Reply
                1. A
                  Arvind
                  Apr 1, 2015 at 2:28 pm
                  Giriraj Singh, is always feeding Congress Party leaders to attack BJP by his loose talks.It is in the interest of BJP he must be removed from party.
                  Reply
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