MUMBAI: The Maharashtra unit of the Congress today hit out at Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for "insulting the Indian Navy" and demanded an apology from him.
"Gadkari should apologise for insulting the Indian Navy by saying he will not give an inch of land to Navy officers in Mumbai and asking them to go on Pakistan border.
We condemn these remarks," Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said.
Wondering why all Navy officials need to stay in posh South Mumbai, Ports minister Gadkari had yesterday said "not an inch" of land would be given to Navy to build flats or quarters in the area.
"Actually, Navy is needed at the borders from where terrorists sneak in. Why does everyone (in the Navy) want to stay in South Mumbai? They (Navy) had come to me, asking for a plot (of land). I will not give even an inch of land. Please don't come to me again," Gadkari had said.
Gadkari's public displeasure came in the backdrop of the Navy declining permission for building a floating jetty at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, where a floating hotel and seaplane service are planned.
Sawant charged why Gadkari was insisting on a floating hotel which can be a threat to Mumbai's security.
"This should be probed," he demanded.
Sawant alleged that BJP's patriotism was sham and was not applicable to private companies.
He claimed that the Navy took objection to helipad and redevelopment projects in South Mumbai due to security issues especially in the backdrop of the 26/11 terror attacks.
The Congress leader said Gadkari's comments were damaging the morale of Navy officers.