New Delhi, Nov 17: After Salman Khurshid, another former Union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar stoked a new controversy by saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be removed if talks between India and Pakistan have to resume.
The Congress leader made his comments during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel in Pakistan.
In the video shown by TV channels, when the anchor of Duniya TV asked what is to be done to end the stalemate in the relations between the Indian and Pakistan, Aiyar responded, "The first and the foremost thing is to remove Modi. Only then can the talks move forward. We have to wait for four more years. They (panelists) are all optimist and that we can move forward when Modi sahab is there, but I don't think so."
He further said, "Bring us (the Congress) back to power and remove them. There is no other way (to better the relations). We will remove them, but till then you (Pakistan) have to wait."
Taking strong exception to the Congress leader's remarks the BJP has asked if Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi react to this and let the country know their stand on the issue.
"It reeks of conspiracy. How can you say this to Pakistan? You are a former minister. This is a very serious statement by him. He should not only come out and apologise, he should also explain the meaning of the statement. But looking into the gravity of the statement, none other than Sonia Gandhi should clarify and should sack him from Congress," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told ANI.
The BJP spokesperson further added, "We all know that Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid are habitual offenders, vis-a-vis Pakistan is concerned and they have always spoken high of Pakistan and low of India."
Patra condemned Aiyar's remark and called it 'absolutely appalling'.
BJP leader Nalin Kohli termed it as an "extremely serious, worrisome and completely incorrect."
"What is even more worrisome is that two senior Congress leaders, first Salman Khurshid, who is the former External Affairs Minister, and now Mani Shankar Aiyar, within a week's span have given such a statement in a nation which is clearly anti-India and has even perpetrated terror in India.
"Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should react to this and let the country know its stand on the issue," the BJP spokesperson said.
The Congress, however, said BJP's charges were "absolute nonsense" and that Aiyar communicated to the party that he had not said any such thing.
(With inputs from agencies)