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3-min read

Vijayvargiya's 'Poha' Remark Attempt to Profile People on Basis of Food Habits, Says Congress

Congress leader Sushmita Dev termed Kailash Vijayvargiya's statement as irresponsible and condemnable and the BJP leadership's silence on his statement as unfortunate.

PTI

Updated:January 24, 2020, 8:10 PM IST
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Vijayvargiya's 'Poha' Remark Attempt to Profile People on Basis of Food Habits, Says Congress
File photo of BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya.

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday demanded that BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya apologise for his "poha" remark, saying it was made deliberately to instill fears in the minds of common people and profile them on basis of food habits.

Congress leader Sushmita Dev termed Vijayvargiya's statement as irresponsible and condemnable and the BJP leadership's silence on his statement as unfortunate.

She alleged that since the BJP leadership is complicit on it so far, it creates doubts over ruling party conducting the National Population Register (NPR) exercise by profiling people on the basis of religion, community, language and now even food.

"This is the reason why we are saying that this government will use NPR for profiling people. This is the way we suspect the government conduct a NPR to do profiling on the basis of religion, community, language and now even food. It is an irresponsible statement. The country is in turmoil on many issues and this is the statement which has been deliberately made to instill fear among the common man," she told reporters.

"He should apologise to the nation and the BJP, which at the drop of a hat holds a press meet on irrelevant issues to divert the attention of the nation, should hold a press meet and apologise for this statement. It should clarify and retract this statement because this is condemnable.

"It is very unfortunate that the BJP is silent on this issue, which means that he might be instructed to talk in this manner and the top leadership of the BJP is definitely complicit in this," the Congress leader said.

Dev said the Congress has consistently been saying that the poor will suffer and this statement of Vijayvargiya further "reiterates what we are saying because he is after all pointing out a finger at the person who is a basic construction site worker".

"We condemn his statement and we reiterate our concern about the manner in which this government is likely to conduct the NPR in the country by profiling people on different basis which should not be the criteria in NPR process," she said.

Dev said Vijayvargiya is a senior BJP leader who has reportedly made some remarks about construction workers who were working at his residence and has connected the food of the construction worker to his nationality and called them infiltrators.

"If a responsible senior leader of the BJP like Mr. Vijayvargiya can today declare someone as a foreign infiltrator because he or she is having 'poha', as being reported, if you can profile a census on nationality and connected to national security, this is the reason why we are saying that this government will use NPR for profiling people," she claimed.

To a question on whether he should give a statement, she said Kailash Vijayvargiya is a senior general secretary of the BJP and in-charge of West Bengal and a statement coming from such a senior leader, is actually creating fear in the minds of the people, instilling fears in the mind of the people.

Vijayvargiya on Thursday said in Indore that he suspected that there were some Bangladeshis among construction labourers who worked at his house recently.

Their "strange" eating habits aroused suspicion about their nationality, the BJP general secretary said at a seminar in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) here.

When a new room was being added at his house recently, he found "eating habits" of some of the workers "strange" as "they were eating only `poha' (flattened rice)", he said.

When reporters questioned him later, Vijayvargiya said, "I suspected these workers were residents of Bangladesh. Two days after I became suspicious, they stopped working at my house.

"I have not filed any police complaint yet. I only mentioned this incident to warn people," he said.

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