New Delhi, Dec 31: Hours from now 2017 will fade into history. The year witnessed many upheavals across the world. As far as India is considered, politics and Bollywood grabbed a major chunk of top headlines throughout the year. As we prepare to welcome the year 2018, here’s a flashback of controversial remarks, there were plenty of them in 2017, that dominated the news space. (ALSO READ – From Hirakhand Express to Kalinga Utkal Express – Train Accidents That Shook The Nation in 2017)
Rahul Gandhi Sees Congress Symbol in Guru Nanak’s Hand
In January 2017, the then Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi stirred a row by for “seeing” the Congress party symbol ‘hand’ in the hand of Guru Nanak. The 47-year-old leader was slammed by the Shiromani Akali Dal and other Sikh organisations for the comparison.
Addressing a Congress convention in New Delhi, Rahul had said, “The Congress symbol is in Lord Shiva’s picture. The gods in every religion are showing the Congress symbol… When I see the image of Guru Nanak Dev ji, I see the Congress symbol, ‘hand’, in his hand.” (ALSO READ – Yearender 2017: Elections That BJP Won Under PM Modi’s Leadership This Year)
For Sharad Yadav Vote is More Important Than Beti ki Izzat
Former National President of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Sharad Yadav is considered to be a seasoned politician. However, the leader’s controversial remarks in January, 2017 created a furore. Yadav said that the honour of ballot was bigger than a daughter’s.
“Ballot paper ke bare mein samjhane ki zarurat hai… Beti ki izzat se vote ki izzat badi hai… Beti ki izaat jayegi to gaon aur mohalle ki izzat jayegi aur vote ek baar bik gaya to desh ki izzat jayegi,” Yadav said.
Sakshi Maharaj’s Hate Speech
Days ahead of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh earlier this year, BJP’s Sakshi Maharaj, added yet another controversial remark in his long list of row-stirring statements.
Addressing a public meeting at Meerut in election-bound Uttar Pradesh, Sakshi Maharaj said, “This population rise in not because of the Hindus. Population has risen due to those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children.” “It was a gathering of ‘sadhus and sants’, where political workers were not present. I did not seek vote during my speech,” he said clarifying his statement.
Vinay Katiyar’s Sexist Slur on Priyanka Gandhi
BJP Rajya Sabha Vinay Katiyar triggered a controversy by saying there were “more beautiful women star campaigners (in his party) than Priyanka Gandhi.” Priyanka was one of the star campaigners of Congress during the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
To a question, the BJP’s firebrand leader said, “It doesn’t matter…there are girls and women who are more beautiful than her (Priyanka) and are also star campaigners. Some of them are artists and heroines…they are more beautiful than her.”
Sandeep Dikshit Liken Army Chief With ‘Sadak ka Gunda’
Former Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit found himself in trouble after comparing Army Chief General Bipin Rawat with ‘sadak ka gunda’. “Kharab tab lagta hai ke jab hamarey bhi sthal sena adhyaksh, ek sadak ke, matlab gundey ki tarah apne bayaan detey hain. (I feel bad when our Army chief makes speeches like a street thug)…What’s there in their (Pakistan) Army. Some mafia-type people.
Dikhit had to apologise for his remark following severe criticism. Even his own party – Congress – dissociated itself from the leader over the issue.
Sangeet Som, Taj Mahal And History
BJP MLA from Sardhana in Uttar Pradesh, Sangeet Som’s remark over Taj Mahal would go down as one of the most controversial and baseless statement ever made.
Som, who in not new to such controversies, had described the iconic Taj Mahal as a blot on Indian history and culture. Speaking at a public gathering in Meerut in October, Sangeet Som said, “Many people were worried that the Taj Mahal was removed from the list of historical places in the UP tourism booklet. What history are we talking about? The man who built Taj Mahal imprisoned his father. He wanted to massacre Hindus. If this is history, then it is very unfortunate and we will change this history, I guarantee you,” Som said.
Though the BJP disowned his statement but the damage had been done. Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath too disapproved of Som. In an apparent damage-control attempt, Adityanath said,”… the monument (Taj Mahal) was made by the blood and sweat of Bharat Mata’s sons.”
Azam Khan Adds to Taj Mahal Row
Senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan added fuel to the Taj Mahal controversy by advocating demolition of all building constructed by pre-independence rulers. He said Delhi’s Parliament and President’s House should also be razed.
“Mai pehle se iss rai ka hoon ki ghulami ki un tamaam nishaniyon ko mita dena chahiye jisse kal ke shasakon ki boo aati ho…Akele Taj Mahal hi kyun? Parl, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Qutb Minar, Lal Qila kyun nahi? Ye sab ghulaami ki nishani hai (I have been saying that all the traces of slavery that reek of past rulers should be erased… Why only Taj Mahal? Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Qutub Minar, Red Fort are all symbols of slavery),” Azam Khan.
Himanta Biswa Sarma’s Outrageous Remarks
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s statement that cancer is a product of “karmic law” went viral on social media. “God makes us suffer when we sin. Sometimes we come across young men getting inflicted with cancer or young men meeting with accidents. If you observe the background you will come to know that it’s divine justice. Nothing else. We have to suffer that divine justice,” Sarma had said.
The minister later clarified that that he never said that “sin cause cancer.” “I once again offer my apology to those who might have been hurt owing to this absolutely mindless controversy triggered by few political desperado,” he said.
From ‘Chaiwaala’ in 2014 to ‘Neech Aadmi’ in 2017, Mani Shankar Does it Again
Three years after his ‘chaiwaala’ remark on Narendra Modi backfired, Mani Shankar Aiyar issued yet another derogartory statement calling the PM an uncultured man who practices dirty politics.
“Mujhko lagta hai ki ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, isme koi sabhyata nahi hai, or aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai? (This man is a low-life person, he isn’t cultured… at this moment why does he need to practice such dirty politics?)” he told reporters in New Delhi.
Aiyar was not only slammed by the BJP but also reprimanded by his own party chief Rahul Gandhi who asked him not to use such words. However, the damage had been done. The BJP and PM Modi used Aiyar’s remark during the Gujarat Assembly Elections to link it with Gujarati ‘asmita’.
Anantkumar Hegde’s Attack on Constitution
Union minister of state for employment and skill development Anantkumar Hegde’s statement created a deadlock in Parliament as the Congress-led Opposition demanded and unconditional apology from him.
Speaking at an public gathering in Karnataka, Hegde had said that people should identify themselves by their religion.
“Seculars do not know what their blood is. Yes, the Constitution has given that right to say ‘we are secular’…. but Constitution has been amended many times, we will also amend it. We have come to power for that,” Hegde said triggering a huge controversy.