New Delhi: Congress vice-president on Thursday criticised Union minister of external affairs Salman Khurshid for calling BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi “impotent” over the Gujarat chief minister’s handling of the post-Godhra riots in 2002.
“I do not appreciate this kind of comment…the kind of language,” Gandhi said disapproving Khurshid’s remark.
The Congress leader was talking to reporters at the AICC headquarters after a meeting of the campaign committee of the party.
Khurshid had on Tuesday described Modi as “impotent” while speaking at a rally in Farrukhabad.
Without taking the name of Modi, Khurshid, who is a sitting MP from Farrukhabad, asked why a man who aspires to be the prime minister of the country could not do anything during the 2002 riots.
“Some people came, attacked and went, and you couldn’t protect. Are you not a strong man?,” the senior Congress leader had asked.
“We don’t accuse you (Modi) of killing people. Hamara aarop hai ki tum napunsak (impotent) ho. (Our accusation is that you are impotent). You couldn’t stop the killers,” he added.
The external affairs minister had insisted after his comment that he did nothing wrong as there was no other appropriate word to describe him in the context of the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Khurshid had said he did not find any other word to express his anguish better and asked the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate to admit the “truth” about the riots.
“I am not his doctor. I cannot physically examine him. So I have no business to be saying what his physical condition is. The word impotent is used in political vocabulary to show that somebody is incapable of doing something,” the minister had said.
“Either you admit you are strong and fully capable and what had happened was done deliberately or say that I made lot of efforts but did not have the capability (to stop the riots). If there is no capability (to deal with) what is it called. Is it not called impotency. If it is called impotency and I said that then what’s the problem,” he had said.
Rebutting BJP’s criticism for his comment, Khurshid had said if they do not understand the vocabulary then he can send a dictionary to them.
BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shanker Prasad had slammed Khurshid, saying some UPA ministers were trying to grab air time through foul language.
The party had asked him to apologise for the “regrettable” and “shameful” comment.
BJP leaders said Congress and its leaders have “forgotten manners and etiquette” and asked if Sonia Gandhi approved of this comment.
More than 1200 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the Gujarat carnage that happened after about 60 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya were burnt alive in a train near Godhra.
Modi has been criticised for not doing enough to stop the anti-Muslim pogrom that followed.