Rahul slams Joshi over 'casteist' remarks

Rahul slams Joshi over 'casteist' remarks

Rahul Gandhi and C P Joshi. (PTI, Videograb)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi slammed former Union minister and senior Congress leader C P Joshi for his controversial remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Uma Bharti.

Gandhi said Joshi's statements were against the ideals of Congress and that leaders should not make any statement that hurts the sentiments of any section of the society.

"While respecting the ideals of Congress and spirit of workers, Joshiji must realise his mistakes. I am sure Joshi-ji will realise his mistake and express regret," Gandhi tweeted.

While addressing a rally in Rajasthan’s Nathdwara on Thursday, the Congress leader is heard saying, “They say a Congressi can’t be a Hindu, who gave them the authority to issue certificates? Have they opened a university? If anyone knows about religion then its pandits and Brahmins.” How can Uma, Sadhvi (Rithambara) and Modi, all non-Brahmins, talk about Hinduism? he wondered.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje condemned Joshi's remarks and called it a Congress policy to divide people on the basis of caste. 

In a Facebook post, Joshi retorted: "I strongly condemn the fabricated use of my statement by the BJP. To put all the speculations to rest. Here is enclosed the clipping of the speech (sic)". Ahead of the controversial part, Joshi asks who are the BJP leaders to certify whether Congress leaders are Hindus or not.  

Soon after Gandhi's tweet, Joshi expressed regret and tweeted, "with due respect to the Congress party's principles, I express regret over my statements if it has caused hurt to any section of the society."

Gandhi's remarks came Joshi's statement would adversely impact Congress in Rajasthan where it has the potential to anger other castes. Joshi was once a favourite of the Congress president.

Two days ago, Joshi had courted another controversy by saying "only a Congress prime minister can build a Ram temple in Ayodhya."

Rajasthan will go to polls on December 7. Earlier this week, the party's Madhya Pradesh chief Kamal Nath was caught on video saying if Muslims didn't vote for the Congress, the party is doomed.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox