Who is Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti? How Modi's words forced her to apologise?: Explained

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47-year-old Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, who was in the eye of storm over her controversial remarks on Tuesday, Dec 2 apologised for using an expletive publicly, during an election rally in Delhi.

She is a first-time MP from Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh. She was inducted in the Modi government as a junior minister for food processing on November 10, 2014. [PM Modi condemns Sadhvi Jyoti's comments]

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Let's know more about the firebrand controversial leader:

  • Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, a religious preacher helped BJP make inroads among the Dalit and backward classes in the politically-crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • She contested and won from the Fatehpur seat in UP and her candidature is widely acknowledged to have got the BJP the support of the Kashyap and Nishad communities in the state.
  • Born in 1967, Jyoti had unsuccessfully contested on a BJP ticket in the 2002 and 2007 Assembly elections before going on to secure a win in 2012.
  • Sadhvi Niranjan was in the news in June this year after she managed to escape unhurt as an attempt was made on her life allegedly by three persons.
  • Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti belongs to the Nishad (boatman) community which is considered to be a major votebank in Uttar Pradesh. She is a protege of Swami Achyutanand and has studied up to Class XII.
  • She had won Hamirpur seat in Uttar Pradesh Assembly in 2012 and was first elected to the assembly in the same year.
  • According to her affidavit submitted to EC, she has immovable properties worth Rs 2.95 lakh and movable properties worth around Rs 23 lakh.
  • Known to be a fighter, she wears saffron robes, sports a big tilak on her forehead and is known for her speeches laced with Hindu scriptures and hymns.
  • She fits the firebrand brand of politics that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad espouse and her caste is an added advantage.

Controversial remark: What she said?

"Aapko tay karna hai ki Dilli mein sarkar Ramzadon ki banegi ya har**zadon ki."

"People of Delhi have to decide if they want a Government of Ramzaadon (followers of Ram) or har**zadon (a Government of those who are illegitimate)." 

When and where she said?

Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti made the derogatory remarks while addressing an election rally Shyam Nagar in New Delhi on Monday, Dec 1.

Her defiant remarks:

"What else do you call people, who loot the nation and its people? I did not take name of any particular individual, community or party. I was talking about separatist parties and leaders who think of dividing the country and who do not consider themselves to be a part of India."

Her clarification:

"I did not take name of any particular individual, community or party. Is it a crime to talk about Ram? How can talking about Ram be communal? It should not be given a communal tone."

How Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tough message forced her to apologise?

While condemning derogatory comments made by Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday, Dec 2 asked party MPs to abstain from addressing the nation. [I disapprove Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's remark: PM Modi in Lok Sabha]

At the parliamentary board meeting held ahead of Parliament Session, Modi, without taking Sadhvi's name, asked the "MPs to avoid making uncalled for statements." [PM Modi disapproves Sadhvi's remark in Rajya Sabha]

PM Modi's tough message forced Sadhvi to immediately tender an apology in Parliament for using unparliamentary language.

What she said in her apology in Parliament?

"I didn't have any ill intention. But whatever words that I spoke, I express my deep regret and I accept what I said."

"I express regret from my heart and withdraw my words." [Uproar in Lok Sabha over Sadhvi's remarks]

How BJP tackled the issue?

The BJP said the issue should not be stretched after the Minister has tendered an apology.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said those in the government and the opposition should use dignified language and in the past UPA ministers too had crossed the line many times.

BJP spokesman Sambit Patra was seen defending Niranjan Jyoti. "It may be a slip of tongue but her intention was not what we are presenting,"

What opposition said?

Congress: "The Prime Minister should give an explanation," Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

"The divisive thinking and divisive politics of the BJP has been exposed," Congress leader Ambika Soni said.

AAP: Manish Sisodia said, "This is the real character of the BJP. Their language shows what kind of work they are doing at the Centre and what kind of work they will do for Delhi,"

BSP: Mayawati said the minister's remarks were against the secular ethos espoused by the Constitution and do not behold a person occupying a constitutional post.

The BJP should sack her, she said.

CPI (M): Sitaram Yechury demanded that a First Investigation Report (FIR) be filed against Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.

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