- "Vajubhai Vala has established new standard of loyalty": Sanjay Nirupam
- The Congress said it does not agree with such statements
- "Congress does not respect institutions": Prakash Javadekar
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam on Monday sparked a controversy with his swipe at Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala hours after the party claimed victory in dramatic turn of events that ended with the resignation of BJP's BS Yeddyurappa as the state's Chief Minister. "Vajubhai Vala has established a new standard of loyalty. Perhaps now every Indian will name their dog Vajubhai Vala because nobody can be more loyal than him," Mr Nirupam told news agency ANI.
The Congress leader's comments came after Mr Yeddyurappa's decision to step down and not face a floor test in Karnataka, capping days of plot twists that began with the Karnataka election results on Tuesday. A day later, Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP (which emerged as the single largest party but short of majority) to form the government and 15 days to prove its strength in the assembly. The move drew bitter criticism from its opponents who said it was a "license" to engineer defections with money, favours and threats. The lavish 15-day deadline was later cut short to 24 hours by the Supreme Court against appeals by the BJP.
Vajubhai Vala also controversially appointed a BJP lawmaker KG Bopaiah seen as close to Mr Yeddyurappa as the temporary speaker for today's floor test in what many pointed out was a break from tradition. Usually the senior-most MLA is appointed a temporary speaker. In 2010, he had suspended five independent and 11 BJP lawmakers who rebelled against Mr Yeddyurappa after he was charged in a mining scam, helping him sail through a floor test.
But Mr Nirupam's crude remarks flew in the face of comments made by Rahul Gandhi who stressed in his briefing that the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS did not respect the country's institutions. The BJP, which political observers said backed out Karnataka with a plan, seized the moment.
"Congress does not respect institutions and this statement is just an evidence of that. Is this how they show respect towards the post of the Governor?" Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said as he served the rejoinder to a spree of celebratory Congress' reactions following Mr Yeddyurappa's resignation.
The Congress quickly distanced itself from the comment."Congress doesn't agree with any such statement. Karnataka governor murdered democracy. However, any statement made on him personally won't be accepted. Rahul Gandhi and Congress have regard for their worst enemies unlike PM Modi," party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
As the backlash swelled and Sanjay Nirupam trended on Twitter with a torrent of reprisals from BJP supporters, he issued an apology of sorts.
"Vajubhai Vala is a human. How can I make him a dog. But in displaying the highest human habit quality of loyalty, he has left even dogs behind. But despite that, of this statement was not liked then I apologise. But his excellency did not spare any effort to murder democracy. He should resign," he tweeted in Hindi.