"In 1984 post-Indira Gandhi's death, when elections happened, Congress had won more than 400 seats. After five years post Bofors scandal, Congress was out of power and its seats got halved," BJP leader Balbir Punj said.
"It's a different matter whether people have forgotten Bofors or not but Congress has forgotten what Bofors had done to it. Since then, Congress has not got majority on its own," he added.
CPI's D Raja also reminded the ruling party that the fact that it lost elections after Bofors is a message that people gave to the government of the day. "Congress party and Shinde should remember this," he said.
JD-U President Sharad Yadav, who described Shinde as his "old friend" also, did not hide his displeasure over Shinde's remarks advising him to concentrate more on his ministry.
"He has come to Delhi very recently. His importance is due to Congress party. Better he confines himself to speaking about Home Ministry. He should speak less on political issues," Yadav said.
Addressing a function in Pune yesterday, Shinde said in a lighter vein that "earlier the Bofors was a talking point. People forgot about it. Now it is coal. This too will be forgotten."
"Once hands are washed off coal, they again become clean," the home minister said sending ripples among the audience gathered for an award distribution ceremony in memory of eminent Marathi poet late Narayan Surve.
When reporters quizzed Shinde about his remark after the function, he said, "Do you remember petrol pumps (scam) during NDA rule?"