- PM says BJP's image taking a hit due to irresponsible comments by leaders
- Says they speak as if they are "great social scientists"
- BJP leaders accused of backing rape accused, propagating pseudoscience
Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a stinging rebuke again to party motormouths on Sunday, who have covered a wide range of subjects from terror and rape to Mahabharata and Darwin's theory over the last six months. In a video-conference with lawmakers across the country, PM Modi ripped into the leaders, reminding them that this was affecting their image as well as the party's.
"We make mistakes and give 'masala' to the media... as if we are great social scientists and experts to analyse issues... the moment you see a camera you start speaking. So this half-baked stuff is picked up," he said.
The message -- sent earlier as well -- came as the nation seethes over a spate of child rapes and murders, in which BJP leaders are seen as being soft on the accused. Yesterday, junior finance minister Santosh Gangwar stepped into controversy, saying one "should not make such a big deal" if "one or two such cases are reported" from such a huge country.
Two BJP ministers in Jammu and Kashmir who stepped down from their posts over the gang-rape and murder of an 8-year-old in Kathua, have gone public demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, aggravating the situation in the state which is widely polarized over the issue.
Last month, as Lalu Yadav's RJD retained Bihar's Araria constituency against an aggressive BJP campaign in the by-elections, Union Minister Giriraj Singh said the district will soon become a "hub of terror". During the campaign, Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai said if RJD won, Araria would turn into a hub of the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency.
Earlier this month, Tripura's BJP Chief Minister Biplab Deb claimed that internet and satellite communication existed in the days of Mahabharata. In January, Union Minister Satyapal Singh has said Darwin's theory was "scientifically wrong" since there are no witnesses to humans evolving from apes and it should be removed from science books.
At a party conclave in April last year, PM Modi had issued a similar message, asking leaders to "practice the art of silence". Taking a dig at the controversial statements by his partymen, he said, "The microphone is not a machine that forces people to speak".