Amit Shah's remarks on Mahatma Gandhi invite controversy
Taking a dig at Congress, BJP National President Amit Shah called Mahatma Gandhi "Chatur Baniya". Addressing a gathering of "eminent" people in Chhattisgarh's Raipur, Shah stated, "Mahatma Gandhi was a clever baniya, he knew what was going to happen." He added: "After independence, he (Gandhiji) wanted Congress to be dissolved. He didn't do it, but some people are now doing that job."
BJP strategy - Shah's nationwide tour
Shah was in Chhattisgarh as part of his pan-India tour to prepare BJP for the next state elections in 2018 and General Elections in 2019. Shah is known for often taking about rooting out the Congress party from India.
Congress not based on principles
The BJP Chief claimed the Congress party is nothing but a 'special purpose vehicle' launched in order to gain independence. He said the party was not set up on the basis of any ideology. This was why, he added, that Mahatma Gandhi advocated Congress's dissolution after independence. Shah's comments on the 'Father of the Nation' prompted Congress to demand an apology.
Mahatma Gandhi could foretell things: Shah
Shah said Gandhi could foretell how things would conclude if Congress -"started by a Briton as an association"- continued to exist post-independence and advocated dissolution. He added, "Gandhi didn't do that (disband), but now some people are finishing the task of dismantling Congress party."
Rahul Gandhi chooses not to comment on the matter
Amit Shah's comments invited sharp criticism from the Congress Party, which slammed the BJP chief for insulting Gandhiji. Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi indirectly attacked Shah by sharing a quote by Mahatma Gandhi on Twitter. National Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha tweeted: "#MahatmaGandhi went to jail for India's freedom struggle. Amit Shah was behind bars for fake encounters. No further comment is necessary."
India deserves an apology, demands Sanjay Jha
Sanjay Jha said Shah reducing the great Indian freedom fighters to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) -a business model- is repugnant and saddening. Congress spokesperson Randeep Sujrewala said the truth is that before independence, the British used Hindu Mahasabha and Sangh as SPV for partitioning India. He added post-independence BJP became an SPV for a "handful of rich businessmen".
Surjewala slams Shah for shaming freedom struggle
Sujrewala stated, "He (Shah) should apologize for slinging mud on the Father of the Nation and shaming the freedom struggle." Responding to Sujrewala's demand, Shah said, "Everyone present in the public meeting knows with what objective, I called Mahatma Gandhi a baniya."