A ‘regret’ful day

Digvijay_Singh _3.jpg

New Delhi: Ticked off by their respective party leaderships, BJP and Congress leaders who had crossed the party line are now in a rollback mode.
BJP MP Chandan Mitra and Congress MP Raj Babbar expressing “regret” for their recent remarks. But, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh stunned the Congress leadership when he went on to describe his own party colleague Meenakshi Natarajan on Thursday as “100 per cent tunch maal”.
NC leader and Union minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah on too raised eyebrows when he said that one can have full meal for Rs 1. “One can eat for Rs 1, if desired,” Mr. Abdullah said on the ongoing debate on poverty, but later expressed regret over his statement. 
BJP and Congress insiders felt some leaders in their two outfits were emerging as “troublemakers bent on harming the interest of their parties ahead of the electoral battle”.
BJP MP Chandan Mitra, who had wanted renowned economist Amartya Sen stripped of his Bharat Ratna following some anti-Narendra Modi remarks, was the first to eat his own words on Friday. Soon after that was a retraction by Congress MP Raj Babbar, also a party spokesman, who had claimed that a meal could be had in Mumbai for just Rs 12.
Sensing that their “irresponsible observations” had put their parties on the backfoot, both leaders began to voice “regret” over their remarks. Mitra said: “I think I may have exaggerated. I do regret the part about taking away the Bharat Ratna from Dr Sen. I oversaid it.”
Seeing the nation and the Opposition up in arms over his Rs 12 meal remark, Babbar retracted. “If my statement has pained someone, then I regret it. Didn't intend to hurt the party or others' sentiments,” he said. Babbar had told reporters in Mumbai on Wednesday, “Even today in Mumbai city, I can have a full meal for Rs 12.”
The BJP and the Congress were quick to distance the two parties from the comments of their wayward leaders. While Mitra and Babbar expressed regret, another Congress leader Rashid Masood, who had made a remark similar to that of Babbar, remained defiant. He had said: “You can eat a meal in Delhi for Rs 5 I don't know  about Mumbai. You can get a meal for Rs 5 near Jama Masjid.”
The disconnect of these leaders from ordinary citizens and from reality has apparently “appalled” the Congress.
Congress and BJP ticked off their leaders for making “uncalled-for remarks”, however, they indulged in a slugfest over these comments.
Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said the BJP MP’s remarks against Amartya Sen were “divisive”, “insular”, “prejudiced” and “fascist”, while BJP workers protested on Friday in front of Babbar’s residence.

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