- Parvesh Verma said this while ruling out rollback of the Citizenship Act
- Reference was made in an attempt to paint Rajiv Gandhi's father as Muslim
- Indira Gandhi actually married Feroze Gandhi of Parsi-Zoroastrian descent
Undeterred by a 96-hour ban imposed by the Election Commission for making communally divisive remarks, BJP MP Parvesh Verma on Monday termed the ongoing protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act at New Delhi's Shaheen Bagh as "anti-national" and said that the law won't be rolled back because India is "not ruled by Rajiv Feroze Khan".
"Shaheen Bagh protest against the CAA is anti-national because they are demanding the separation of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir from India. They want Jinnah's azadi... This is not Rajiv Feroze Khan's government. This is Narendra Modi's government... The CAA will not be rolled back," he said amid an outcry by opposition leaders in parliament on Monday.
The West Delhi MP made the reference to "Rajiv Feroze Khan" in an attempt to portray former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's father as a Muslim called Feroze Khan. Indira Gandhi had actually married Feroze Gandhi, a journalist of Parsi-Zoroastrian descent.
Parvesh Verma, who was chosen to deliver the motion of thanks to the President much to the displeasure of opposition leaders, also accused the Congress of corruption and practising "vote bank politics".
The son of late Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma, Parvesh Verma is one among several BJP leaders who have sought to make the Shaheen Bagh movement the central plank of the Delhi elections on February 8. He had told supporters a few days ago that those leading the peaceful protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act will "enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters". The Election Commission had responded by slapping a 96-hour ban on him.
As the opposition walked out in protest, Parvesh Verma claimed that even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and previous Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had spoken in support of granting citizenship to Hindus persecuted in neighbouring countries. He also called upon the opposition to join the BJP in shouting "Jai Shri Ram", which he said was an integral part of Indian culture and not just a religious slogan.
"If you raise the Jai Shri Ram slogan, you will be cleansed of all your sins," he said.
Junior Finance Minister Anurag Thakur and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have also faced criticism over statements made ahead of the Delhi elections. Anurag Thakur was heard urging a crowd to chant "shoot the traitors" in reference to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at a rally last week.
Yogi Adityanath had kicked off his election campaign in Delhi a few days ago by saying that "if protesters do not understand with talks, they will be made to understand with bullets".