Mumbai: The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has demanded an apology from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the controversial statement by its party MP Gopal Shetty, of the BJP against the Christian community. On the other hand, Shetty stuck to his statement saying it had been misinterpreted. Meanwhile, he was willing to resign from his post, but BJP leaders convinced him otherwise.
Shetty, on Sunday, while addressing a public rally at Malvani, had said Christians had played no role in Independence movement. He had said only Muslims and Hindus had contributed to the freedom movement and Christians, ‘being British’, did not participate in it. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Chavan, has demanded BJP apologise for Shetty’s statement. In his tweet, Chavan has stated, ‘The statement of Shetty reflects the despicably communal mindset of BJP. Freedom struggle is the epitome of sacrifices made by all communities, including Christians. Shetty must know that only the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supported the British.’
Shetty clarifies that his statement was misinterpreted and the media only used one half of it. “I had added that in the Narendra Modi government, all communities, including Muslim, Christian, Hindu and others, have been focussed on development with the tagline ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. He confirmed that he was ready to step down as party MP if the party would face trouble on account of his remark.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari refuted claims that Shetty has been asked for a clarification by the party’s leaders in Delhi and they were unhappy with Shetty. Bhandari went to meet Shetty on Friday and convinced him not to resign. “Shetty then withdrew his resignation offer,” said Bhandari. Bhandari, as well as Ashish Shelar, president of the BJP’s Mumbai wing said what Shetty had expressed was his personal view and it was not the official line of the party.