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Amit Shah's 'chatur baniya comment' a blow to BJP merchant vote bank, says Goa MP Shantaram Naik

Panaji: Condemning BJP president Amit Shah's remarks on Mahatma Gandhi, Goa MP and the Congress leader Shantaram Naik on Sunday said the saffron party should introspect and identify the "forces" that killed the Father of the Nation.

File image of Shantaram Naik. PIB

File image of Shantaram Naik. PIB

He said Shah's remarks dubbing Gandhi a "very chatur baniya" is an insult to the mercantile community which the BJP counts as their loyal vote bank.

Addressing a gathering in Raipur on Friday, Shah said that Mahatma Gandhi — he was a very shrewd baniya — had said the Congress should be dissolved post-Independence as the party didn't have any ideology or set of principles and it was only used as a special purpose vehicle to secure freedom.

As his remarks caused a furore, Shah on Saturday said his comments was heard by the people who were present at the gathering.

Naik said Shah's remarks were "highly casteist" and were aimed at denigrating the unparalleled role Gandhiji had played in the freedom movement.

"After directly and indirectly abusing Gandhiji for decades, BJP may be trying to put garlands on his photos in the recent years for their narrow political reasons, but they should do some introspection and identify the forces that killed Gandhiji," Naik, who represents the lone Rajya Sabha seat in the coastal state, said in a statement.

Accusing Shah of insulting baniyas (members of mercantile community) by his remarks, Naik said, "It is doubtful that any baniya will now fall prey to the loud mouthed talks of Amitji".

Referring to the row over the previous BJP government under Manohar Parrikar seeking to scrap a few public holidays, including Gandhi Jayanti, Good Friday and Old Goa Feast, Naik said the move was indicative of the BJP's hatred towards the Mahatma.

"The then BJP government had issued a gazette notification cancelling Gandhi Jayanti as a public holiday in Goa. That government had also scrapped holidays on Good Friday and Old Goa Feast, thereby exhibiting their hatred towards the Father of the Nation as well as towards members of one of the minority communities," he stated.

He said even former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wouldn't have "dared" to issue such a notification cancelling the holiday on Gandhi Jayanti.

"Chief minister and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar, the culprit who had issued the notorious notification...something which even Atal Bihari Vajpayee would not have dared to issue, withdrew it later," he said.

Updated Date: Jun 11, 2017 17:51 PM

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