Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti, who was temporarily barred from campaigning by the Election Commission last week, courted fresh controversy Wednesday by stating that he would chop off the hand of anyone who raises a finger at BJP leaders.
In a veiled attack on Congress chief Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Mandi, Satti said, “Wo chowkidar ko is desh ka beimaan bolte hain… Jo hamare baap ko chor bolega usko bhi ham log waese hi bolenge… Saamne neta log baithe hain, agar koi unki oar ungli uthaega, ham log uski baajoo kaat karke uske haath mein pakda denge (They call the watchman of the entire country a thief. Whoever calls our father a thief will hear equally derogatory replies from us… BJP leaders are sitting here, if anyone raises a finger at them, we will chop off their hands).”
Satti also spoke against senior Congress leader and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling him a “sher (lion) of Punjab”, and referring to former UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi as “Maa (Goddess)”.
He said Singh could not do much because “jis samay sher ke upar maa baithi hoti hai toh sher kuch nahi kar sakta (when the Goddess is riding the lion, the lion cannot do anything)”.
Congress has said it will complain about Satti’s remarks to the EC. “His language and statements against Congress are unacceptable. He should be barred from campaigning in the entire remaining campaigning season,” Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president Kuldeep Singh Rathore said.
Later, Satti told The Indian Express that he did not remember having made any comment about chopping hands. On being asked whether he would apologise for the comments, he said, “We’ll see later.”