Dubbing Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “serial abuser” and the BJP the “mother of crass statements”, the Congress today demanded the saffron party apologise for “lowering” the quality of public discourse. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, however, said that he did not expect the BJP to apologise as the ruling party had never done so in the past.
Singhvi’s attack comes in the wake of a series of controversial remarks made by BJP leaders, allegedly including the prime minister and the latest by party MP Paresh Rawal. “BJP is mother and producer of derogatory, insulting, foul language…the sheer brazenness with which BJP escapes any blame after indulging in crude, crass and coarse language is appalling…we demand the BJP apologise for lowering quality of public discourse,” Singhvi told reporters.
Singhvi listed several cases where the prime minister allegedly made derogatory remarks by calling his predecessor Manmohan Singh a “night-watchman”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi a “jersey cow” and the party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi a “hybrid calf” in the past to drive his point.
Singhvi also said that the prime minister had termed the Congress a “termite”. He also referred to comments made by Rawal and BJP’s Bihar unit chief Nityanand Rai.
Hitting out at the Congress over a controversial meme centred around the prime minister’s humble background, Rawal had yesterday tweeted that “chai-wala is any day better than your bar-wala”.
Rawal, however, did not elaborate on whom he called “bar-wala”. Rai said that any finger/hand raised against the prime minister would be “chopped off”. Both Rawal and Rai have apologised for their remarks. “The prime minister is leading such a discourse…like there are serial killers, the prime minister and the BJP are serial abusers,” he added.
Singhvi also stressed that the Congress always maintained the quality of discourse and there was a big difference between it and the BJP. He cited the example of how the party apologised for the meme row.
He said the Twitter handle where the meme was posted by the online magazine of the Indian Youth Congress was not that of the parent party. “Despite that we apologised, so did the IYC,” he said, charging the BJP with never regretting controversial statements made by its leaders.
Earlier in the day, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala and senior party leader Kapil Sibal lashed out at the BJP over Rawal’s remark.
Surjewala accused the MP from poll-bound Gujarat of resorting to cheapness. “Modiji should apologise and take action. Whether ‘Bhakt’ channels will show guts?” he asked on Twitter.
Asked about Rawal’s comment, Sibal alleged that almost all leaders in the BJP use such language. “The prime minister (when he was the chief minister of Gujarat) would also speak such things. Now their Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister (Yogi Adityanath) talks such things. The BJP workers too talk like that. We don’t do that,” he added.