On Wednesday, senior Congress official Ajoy Kumar sparked controversy with his remarks that NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu represents ‘wrong philosophy’ despite being a ‘good person’, prompting the BJP to allege that his party was amplifying the “wrong philosophy that can’t stand such strong tribal representation.”
The war of words began after video clips of Kumar’s remarks were shared by ANI on social media in which the Congress leader said: “Draupadi Murmu is a decent person but he represents a very evil philosophy of India. So we should not make the mistake of making Draupadi Murmu the symbol of Adivasis .”
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He went on to refer to President Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, and said, “Kovind was president when the Hathras rape incident happened. Did he say a word? Ongoing attacks on Scheduled Castes are happening all over India. The condition of the CSs worsened. So creating symbols and then deceiving the people of India is what the Modi government is all about.”
Kumar, who was an IPS officer before entering politics, said he was not comparing Murmu and opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. “This is India’s soul fight. All like-minded parties should vote for Yashwant Sinha,” he said.
The BJP jumped on his comment to attack Congress. Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted: “A tribal woman rising from the grassroots to become a candidate for India’s next president is called democracy at work and deserves to get what she deserves. is of. The Congress amplifies the evil philosophy that cannot support such a strong representation of Indian Adivasis.
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A grassroots tribal woman to become a candidate for the next president of India is called workplace democracy and deserves to get her due.
The Congress amplifies the evil philosophy that cannot support such a strong representation of Indian Adivasis. pic.twitter.com/dvBGTk23mC
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) July 13, 2022
Demanding an apology from Congress, Union Tribal Minister Arjun Munda said the opposition party was “frustrated” and in trouble because someone from the tribal section had been nominated for the post of chairman.
BJP IT Unit Chief Amit Malviya tweeted: “At a time when the NDA has announced Draupadi Murmu as its presidential candidate, the fact that Congress calls her evil by association, even to suggest that does not represent tribal aspirations is extremely disappointing. Jharkhand BJP leader Babulal Marandi claimed Kumar’s remarks showed what Congress thinks about tribals and women.
At a time when the NDA, led by Prime Minister Modi, has announced Smt Draupadi Murmu, a woman from Adivasi samaj, as its candidate for president, a move that will greatly strengthen the tribals, the Congress leader calls it the evil by association! Just because she’s tribal. Shame pic.twitter.com/qmNAiYYpC3
—Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) July 13, 2022
Responding to the BJP leaders’ attack, Kumar asked the leaders to ‘stop lying’ and see the ‘full byte’ where he said Murmu is a ‘good person and the problem is not of her but of the toxic philosophy” of the BJP. “I’m sticking to that,” Kumar added.