In a shocking statement, Senior Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit on June 11 called the Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat "Sadak ka Goonda" (roadside goon) and said he shouldn't sound "like a goonda" (goon) while giving a statement before the media. "The statement that the army chief shouldn't be commented upon is inadequate compared to the magnitude of sin his party committed", said the BJP's GVL Narasimha Rao. "Sonia Gandhi should expel such leaders and apologise for the act", Patra told news agencies. Sitharaman claimed that there was no sense of apology on the part of Dikshit.
Dikshit, a former Member of Parliament and the son of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, has apologised after using the words "Sadak ka goonda (street goon)" for Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.
However, Dikshit later on withdrew his statement and tender apology for using uncivilized language.
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The BJP, however, insisted on an apology from Sonia Gandhi.
Senior CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat defended Sandeep Dikshit's comment and said, "Army Chief Rawat's statements result in controversy, as (his) statements itself are objectionable", Karat said. "While this is expected from Pakistan who is like the mafia, why does our own chief make such pronouncements?"
Meanwhile, the Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has criticised Sandeep Dikshit for his controversial comments. I want to make it clear that the Indian Army works for us, it protects India. This clearly shows that it was no random comment; it was a pre-planned political move by the Congress Party. The comment made to a journalist generated fierce criticism.
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Sitharaman also questioned whether it was a "Congress strategy to undermine the army's confidence".
BJP leader Sambit Patra joined in: "First, it was Rahul Gandhi who spoke of "khoon ki dalali".
"Because many times, when people go to the operation, we have to face the people and many a times ladies come in front of us", he said. "It shocks me and my party".
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Union minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted, "What's wrong with Congress Party?"