This Article is From Dec 02, 2014

Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti Must be Fired for Hate Speech, Says Opposition

New Delhi: Shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's unequivocal warning to party MPs on Tuesday against "addressing the nation" out of turn, a union minister apologized in Parliament for using abusive language at a public meeting in Delhi.

"There will be no compromise," PM Modi reportedly said a meeting of BJP MPs this morning, without taking any names.

Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, who joined the government as minister of state last month, had used an expletive on Monday as she questioned a crowd in west Delhi: "You have to decide. Do you want a government of Ramzaadon (followers of Ram) or those who are illegitimate?"

A howl of protests forced her to apologise in both houses of Parliament. "It was not my intention to offend anybody. I express regret from my heart and withdraw my words," she said.

But that did not silence the opposition, which said she should be removed and arrested.

"The apology was an admission of guilt. This minister is guilty of trying to spread communal hate. Until an investigation is complete, she can't remain a minister," said CPM leader Sitaram Yechury.

"The Prime Minister should give an explanation and remove this minister," Congress leader Anand Sharma said in the Rajya Sabha.

The 47-year-old saffron-robed Niranjan Jyoti is the junior minister for food processing. Known for her religious discourses, the Sadhvi is a first-time MP from Uttar Pradesh and among the six BJP MPs drafted into the party's campaign for the Delhi polls due early next year.

Before the PM's warning forced her to backtrack, the minister had been defiant about her remarks. "What else do you call people who loot the nation...those who steal from the people and stash it in foreign banks? You tell me what we should call them," she had told reporters.

Her poor choice of words circulated on social media with hashtags that include #abusiveminister.