New Delhi, July 20 Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday took strong exception to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge's observation that many BJP leaders had connections with the Congress party and several of them belonged to Congress families earlier.
"Whenever we raise any issue or question on contemporary incidents, the union ministers start talking about 60-65 years of Indian history," Kharge said after Home Minister Rajnath Singh tried to draw a parallel between incidents of atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat under Congress rule in the past and now under the BJP dispensation.
"During last 60-65 years all their forefathers were in Congress," Kharge claimed in reference to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
Naidu countered the Congress floor leader strongly, and asserted that he and many other BJP leaders, including patriarch L.K. Advani, had "no connection to the Congress party".
"I had no connection to Congress. Sushma Swaraj did not have. Nor did L.K. Advani or D.V. Sadanand Gowda," Naidu said, and in an emotion choked voice added: "My father is dead today, he cannot defend himself."
"I feel proud that I have no Congress connections," Naidu said and maintained that such remarks should not come from a senior member like Kharge.
Trying to draw a parallel between incidents of atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said there were hundreds of such attacks between 1991 and 1999 -- during the Congress rule -- "while it came down significantly after 2001 and the state government (under the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi) deserves compliments".