New Delhi: In its reaction to Congress MP BK Hariprasad’s controversial swipe at BJP president Amit Shah for being diagnosed with swine flu, the saffron party has said that at least flu is curable but “mental illness” of the Opposition party’s leaders would be difficult to treat. (Also read: Congress Distances Itself From Hariprasad’s Comment)

Demanding that Hariprasad be sacked from the Congress and a public apology also be made, the BJP claimed that the Opposition party’s “silence” also showed that such views had the sanction of its leadership. In Bengaluru, Hariprasad, a Rajya Sabha member, had mocked Shah’s health, saying he contracted swine flu since his party made an alleged bid to destabilise the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka.

“As a few legislators have already come back, Amit Shah is shaken and has got a fever. It is not a normal fever. It is swine flu,” Hariprasad had said in Kannada. “You should know that if you try to destabilise the Karnataka government, not just swine flu, you will get vomiting and dysentery also,” he had added.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal said, “The kind of ugly and indecent comments Congress MP BK Hariprasad has made about BJP President Amit Shah’s health show the standards of the party. Flu is curable but it is difficult to cure Congress leaders’ mental illness.”

Many of his Cabinet colleagues, including Rajyavardhan Rathore and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, reacted to Hariprasad’s remarks.”This is a completely abhorrent and ugly statement. They don’t even have the basic decency as to how to react to a person’s illness,” Naqvi said.

Rathore said he was not surprised to see Congress leaders abandon decency. He said such comments show the frustration of the Congress leadership. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said Hariprasad’s comments show the “moral degeneration” of the Congress and its “bankruptcy” of thoughts and “lack of moral values”.

He added, “The fact that the Congress leadership is silent on Hariprasad’s comments establishes all such toxic comments have the sanction of the leadership. And if they want to disapprove of his remarks, Rahul Gandhi should sack Hariprasad and make him apologise publicly to Shah.”

Shahnawaz Hussain, also a party spokesperson, described Hariprasad’s remarks as “shameful”, saying this is the real face of the Congress. BJP ally and Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan also termed Hariprasad’s comments as “shameful”. He also said that Rahul should take the matter seriously and dismiss Hariprasad from the party.

Shah was diagnosed with swine flu and admitted to the AIIMS on Wednesday. Later, he informed people about his illness in a tweet.