New Delhi/Jaipur: After his purported remarks against President Ram Nath Kovind created a political furore, with the BJP accusing the Congress of having an “anti-Dalit” mindset and urging the Election Commission to take action against him, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday said he was “misquoted.”
Mr Gehlot had suggested that the NDA picked Mr Kovind over its veteran leader L.K. Advani as its nominee for the Presi-dent’s post because of his caste.
However, after his remarks stirred a controversy, Mr Gehlot said that he was “misquoted” and that he has the greatest regards for the President of India and is “highly impressed with his simplicity and humbleness”.
At a press conference in Jaipur, Mr Gehlot had linked Mr Kovind’s appointment as President to the Gujarat polls. Mr Kovind was the NDA’s nomination for the President’s post and took oath in July 2017, a few months before the Gujarat assembly polls, which were won by the BJP.
“People even say that Ram Nath Kovind was made president considering Gujarat assembly elections in 2017...I was reading an article. He (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) was afraid that he was not going to form the government in Gujarat. BJP chief Amit Shah might have given him the suggestion after which it was decided to make Ram Nath Kovind the President,” the Congress leader said. He added that Mr Advani was “left out” though he was to become the President.
“People of the country had the expectation that he (Advani) will get the honour that he deserved but was deprived of...Though it is the BJP’s internal issue, I am discussing it because I read an article,” said the Rajasthan chief minister.
Reacting to Mr Gehlot’s remarks, BJP national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP, GVL Narsimha Rao demanded an apology from Mr Gehlot and urged the EC to take action against him.
“It is very unfortunate that Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, a senior Congress leader who himself is on a constitutional post, made a casteist remark against the President, who is the custodian of the Const-itution,” said Mr Rao.