National

Hardeep Singh Puri Targets Rahul Gandhi, Congress Retorts Back

The second leg of the budget session, which started on March 13, is headed for a near washout after the BJP and the opposition parties continued to spar over a host of issues such as Rahul Gandhi's remarks in the UK, Adani row and Gandhi's disqualification from Lok Sabha.

New Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri
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The political discourse hit a new low on Monday with Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri making disparaging remarks targeting Rahul Gandhi and the Congress paying him back in the same coin, saying such comments "reveal the character" of new entrants to the BJP.

The BJP and the Congress also traded barbs as proceedings in Parliament remained stalled on Monday. The second leg of the budget session, which started on March 13, is headed for a near washout after the BJP and the opposition parties continued to spar over a host of issues such as Rahul Gandhi's remarks in the UK, Adani row and Gandhi's disqualification from Lok Sabha.

Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on Hindutva idealogue VD Savarkar, Puri told reporters in Parliament, "the other day he said I will not apologise because I am not Savarkar. Do you know the contribution of people like Savarkar ji?... You are, as I said, getting an **s to run a horse's race."

Congress leaders, including Jairam Ramesh and Supriya Shrinate reacted with anger to the comment.

"New entrants to the BJP especially those who become Cabinet ministers often make outrageous statements to strengthen their new loyalties. Such statements reveal their own character," party general secretary Ramesh said on Twitter.

"Ye poori sachchai hai," he added in Hindi.

Puri joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in January 2014.

Lashing out at Puri for his remarks, Congress spokesperson Shrinate said the "one appointment that Mr Modi got right -- was making the gasbag Hardeep Puri Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas. Meanwhile, congratulations Mr Hardeep Puri -- Rs. 2 credited into your account for the day!"

Ramesh also responded with another disparaging comment.

Congress' media department head Pawan Khera asked Puri to look inwards.

"You people have coloured an ... and made it into a zebra, now its color has started coming off," he said in a tweet in Hindi.

Asked about the agitation by the Congress which is observing ‘black day’ on Monday, Puri told reporters, "they really need to do some serious introspection.”

"You know the lines of propriety, what is acceptable in their political system, the legal system. He (Gandhi) has been convicted by a court. Then, there are automatic procedures," he said.

"And then to bring in this kind of melodramatics? I mean people of India will judge them for what they are," the minister added.

The heated exchange over Puri's comments added to the drama on Monday as several Opposition MPs wore black clothes to Parliament to protest what they alleged was an "attack on democracy" by the government.

Opposition members in Lok Sabha stormed the Well wearing black clothes and two Congress MPs T N Pratapan and Hibi Eden hurled papers towards the Chair, leading to the adjournment of proceedings earlier in the day.

The BJP condemned the opposition ruckus in Parliament and accused the Congress of resorting to a "low level of politics" in its bid to justify Rahul Gandhi’s remarks against the OBC society.

Addressing a press conference, Union Minister Piyush Goyal also questioned the Congress members’ behaviour as they turned up at Parliament, wearing black dresses and created a ruckus in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

"Look at the behaviour...They (Congress members) tore papers and threw them at the Chair. Speaker repeatedly says he wants to run the house and he would give everybody a chance (to speak)," the BJP leader said.

"In Rajya Sabha, Congress and other parties are resorting to indecent behaviour leaving no other option for the Chair but to adjourn the proceedings," he said.

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