Even as BJP chief Nitin Gadkari sought to put his remarks on Swami Vivekananda in the proper context,the Congress on Monday lashed out at him saying that it reflected the party’s “level of thinking and mentality” and demanded an apology.
Gadkari had triggered a major row, when he compared the 19th century spititual leader’s IQ level with fugitive gangster and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, while speaking at an award function in Bhopal on Sunday.
“In psychology, if we measure the IQ level of people... it depends from person to person, in which area they use their intelligence. As per psychology if we can compare the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and that of Dawood, then it could have been almost the same,” he had said.
According to him, the spiritual leader had used it for nation building, while the underworld don had employed it to come up in the crime world.
Leading the Congress charge, the newly-appointed Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said that Gadkari’s statement was “yet another manifestation of their (BJP) culture and mentality. How can anyone compare one of India’s foremost thought leaders with a criminal or with somebody who had a dubious and notorious record?”
“It clearly demonstrates both the level and thinking and the mentality of the BJP,” he said.
Tewari went on to state that while on the one hand there were BJP leaders like Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who “professes loyalty and sincerity to the ideals of Swami Vivekananda”, the party chief on the other hand was comparing the spiritual leader to Dawood, the fugitive don who had been accused in the 1993 bomb blasts.
Further, the I&B Minister said that a “mere clarification” would not suffice and the BJP should “apologise to the people of this country, and specifically to the thinking people and the leaders of India”.
Fellow Congressman Jagdambika Pal too slammed Gadkari saying how the BJP would have reacted if somebody chose to compare its president’s efficiency with that of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks accused Ajmal Kasab.
“I think so this is the bankruptcy of Gadkari’s mind. What is the justification of comparing Saint Vivekananda to Dawood? If somebody will ask tomorrow from Gadkari or will compare Gadkari’s mind of excellence with Kasab, what reply will the BJP give?” he said.
However, as the remarks snowballed into a major controversy, the BJP leader denied that he had compared the two. Instead, he pointed out that he had only tried to bring out the contrast “I have made no comparison between Vivekananda and Dawood,” he insisted.