Governments seeks unconditional apology from Azad over Uri comparison

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The government on Thursday sought an apology from Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad for comparing the deaths of soldiers in the Uri terror attack with that of people standing in queues outside banks and ATMs post demonetisation.

The government also sought a clarification from the Congress party and its leadership on whether it stands with Azad or condemns his “anti-national” remarks.

“I was really shocked and surprised by the remarks of Azad. This is not only unfortunate but an insult to the nation and also of our martyrs,” Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.

He said that what is most unfortunate is that Azad has refused to budge from his stand.

“We want to know the stand of the Congress as Azad has refused to budge even an inch from his remarks, which is hurting the sentiments of the people,” Naidu said.

He said the government is also concerned about the problems being faced by the common man post demonetisation and the government is taking all measures to lessen it.

Azad, in his remarks in the Rajya Sabha, said: “Demonetisation is causing immense problems to people, and 40 persons have died. Not half of this number died from Pakistani terrorism in Uri, and double the figure has died due to the wrong policies of the government.”

Azad’s statement was greeted by loud protests from the ruling benches, to which the Congress leader in exasperation, said, “So you want to compare (the numbers) after 2,000 people die? The 40 poor people who died, labourers, farmers, died due to the wrong policy of the government. Who is to be punished for this?” he asked.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar sought an unconditional apology from Azad, saying he has gone “beyond the Laxman Rekha”.

Talking to reporters, Kumar said that he never expected such a remark from a seasoned politician like Azad.

“He should unconditionally apologize to the nation and also to the Parliament,” Kumar said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dubbed Azad’s remarks as irresponsible and said that Congress as a national party must support instead of obstructing Parliament.