Union Minister Giriraj Singh, reprimanded by Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah over his controversial comments on an Iftar party attended by party ally Nitish Kumar, today said he had no regrets.
Despite being pulled up by the party president, who reportedly asked him to avoid making such statements, Giriraj Singh is yet to delete the tweet. Asked about it in Patna today, he said: "Let bygones be bygones...in politics such things keep happening".
In a tweet on Tuesday, the minister targeted BJP leaders and allies seen in group photos at an Iftar party in Patna. "How beautiful would this picture have been if a Navratri meal would have been organised with the same eagerness. Why do we hold back on our own faith and get into pretence," Giriraj Singh had written in Hindi.
कितनी खूबसूरत तस्वीर होती जब इतनी ही चाहत से नवरात्रि पे फलाहार का आयोजन करते और सुंदर सुदंर फ़ोटो आते??...अपने कर्म धर्म मे हम पिछड़ क्यों जाते और दिखावा में आगे रहते है??? pic.twitter.com/dy7s1UgBgy— Shandilya Giriraj Singh (@girirajsinghbjp) June 4, 2019
The photos posted with the tweet showed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his deputy Sushil Modi, another ally Ram Vilas Paswan, his son Chirag Paswan and the Iftar host, Jitan Ram Manjhi of the Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular).
Hours later, Nitish Kumar responded to the tweet. "Giriraj Singh makes such remarks deliberately, so that you (media) make news out of it," he said. The next day, he added to this saying, "Such people have no religion as every religion preaches respect and love for each other".
Giriraj Singh's remark further added to the strain within the ruling coalition. Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United), which was offered just one cabinet portfolio, refused to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.
Days later, the Bihar Chief Minister expanded his cabinet and made a similar offer to the BJP, and received the same response: a hard pass.
Giriraj Singh, the Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries, is notorious for his controversial no-filter comments. Often seen to wear his rightwing beliefs on his sleeve, he is prone to order critics of the BJP to "go to Pakistan".
He was elected from Begusarai in the general election, defeating Kanhaiya Kumar who many saw as a strong rival.
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