DW BUREAU / SONIPAT
/ NEW DELHI
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar ridiculed Sonia Gandhi’s return as the Congress chief, using a Hindi proverb that seemed to call her a “dead mouse” and provoking an outrage from the opposition party.Addressing a poll rally at Kharkhoda near Sonipat on Sunday, Khattar mocked the Congress effort at finding a replacement for Rahul Gandhi as the opposition party ended up picking someone from the Gandhi family again.
“Khoda pahad, niklee chuhiya,” he said, using a proverb that suggests big effort but little gain. Literally, it means finding a mouse after digging a mountain.
“That too a dead one,” Khattar added. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader had targeted both the Congress and the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) at the meeting, days ahead of the October 21 assembly polls in the state.
“You know the kind of ‘tamasha’ these family-based parties are doing. Now, within the family too, fights are taking place. On one side there is `Pappu’, and on the other ‘Mummy’,” he said.
The Congress has demanded an immediate
apology over the mouse remark.
“The chief minister’s remarks are inappropriate, he stooped to the lowest level and it also shows the anti-women character of the BJP,” the Congress tweeted.
On Monday, Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev and Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja slammed Khattar. Khattar had said the Congress took three months to look for a national president outside the Gandhi family after Rahul Gandhi announced his resignation. “We thought it was a good thing that they were moving away from dynastic rule,” he said, referring to the Congress leader as “pappu Choudhary” and “Rahul baba”.
But the Congress ended up choosing Sonia Gandhi,” he said, referring to her appointment as interim president. “Again the same Gandhi family. Khoda pahad, niklee chuhiya, woh bhi mari hui.” Sushmita Dev said Khattar’s remarks are a clear reflection of his and the BJP’s disrespectful attitude towards women.
“We in the Congress are committed to upholding the dignity in public life. But as a woman, I take offence to the disgraceful remark made and demand an unconditional apology,” she said.
She accused him of lowering public discourse in an attempt to divert attention from real issues like joblessness and acute economic slowdown.
Kumar Selja asked the chief minister to reflect “in what light remarks such as these portray women of Haryana and elsewhere.” “It is because of the mindset of people like you that Haryana has come to be known as the crime capital, which tops the country in crime. Crimes against women are on the rise,” she said.
At another poll rally week ago, Khattar had accused the Congress of sympathising with terrorists and said Sonia Gandhi “sheds tears for militants”.
In Sonipat, he also took potshots at the Congress over the exit of its state unit chief Ashok Tanwar, who quit the party after alleging that bribes were being paid for tickets to fight elections.
On the Congress manifesto, Khattar said, “They have promised freebies for which Rs 1.25 lakh crore will be needed, which can never be fulfilled. They are making promises as if the state’s coffers are their ‘baap ka maal’ (their father’s property).” He also targeted the JJP, formed after a split in the Indian National Lok Dal.
“This party, Jhootee Jhagda Party, will become the Jamanat Jabt Party as its candidates will lose badly,” he said, predicting that JJP candidates will lose their deposits.
He called JJP leader Dushyant Chautala a “gappu”, saying he just talked big.