RSS disapproves of Gadkari's comments on Vivekananda, BJP chief expresses regret

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 06, 2012 14:19 hrs

RSS on Tuesday disapproved of Nitin Gadkari's comments on Swami Vivekananda saying one should be "careful" about public sentiments, but refrained from saying anything on his continuation as party chief in the wake of letters against him by Ram Jethmalani.

"People like Swami Vivekananda are very respected people across the world. So when we talk about them...we have to keep in mind that sentiments of millions of people are attached to them and we should be careful about that," RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said. On Gadkari's continuation as BJP President in the wake of pressure mounting on him by fellow partymen to quit the post, Madhav said, "These matters will be handled by the party. We have nothing to comment on these things."

RSS said BJP will decide on the issue, he said, adding "They are the right people and they are the competent people." Speaking at an award ceremony in Bhopal on November 4, Gadkari said the IQ level of Vivekanand and Dawood could have been the same, but the spiritual leader used it for nation building and the underworld don for pursuing crime. "As per psychology if we can compare the IQ level of Swami Vivekanand and that of Dawood Ibrahim, then it could have been the same. But Vivekanand used it in nation building, brotherhood and spiritualism while Dawood used that in excelling in crime world," Gadkari had said.

On allegations of "dubious" fundings by Gadkari's firms, Madhav said, "As far as allegations are concerned, our general secretary has made it very clear that Mr Gadkari has himself volunteered for an investigation into these allegations. Let these investigations be completed and facts will come out." Madhav also said the campaign against corruption is not just a political issue in the country. "This campaign will continue and it should continue," he said.

Gadkari expresses 'sincere regrets'

Under attack over a statement his detractors took umbrage at, BJP President Nitin Gadkari today denied comparing Swami Vivekananda with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and expressed "sincere regrets" over the hurt to public sentiments caused by his remarks.

"I would like to reiterate that I never compared Swami Vivekananda with anyone. I had absolutely no no intention to project Swami Vivekananda in bad light.

"If my words about Swami Vivekananda have hurt the public sentiments in any manner, I express my sincere regrets," he said in a statement.

Gadkari's speech in Bhopal on Sunday that appeared to compare the Intelligence Quotient of Swami Vivekananda and Ibrahim had come under attack from his political rivals.

"As per psychology, if we can compare the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and that of Dawood Ibrahim, then it cold have been the same. But Vivekananda used it in nation building, brotherhood and spiritualism, while Dawood used that in excelling in crime world," Gadkari was reported to have said in that speech.

Today, the BJP President clarified that Swami Vivekananda has always been a source of inspiration for everyone in BJP.

"My personal reverence for Swami Vivekananda is second to none. In that context, I had referred to Swami Vivekananda dedicating his intellect for the welfare of humanity," he said adding, "I am deeply pained to note that my words have been taken out of context to create confusion."

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