New Delhi: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law and businessman Robert Vadra's misbehaviour with a news reporter yesterday night attracted strong reactions from the political fraternity on Sunday.
Critising Vardra's act, in which he angrily pushed away the mic of a reporter when asked about his land deals in Haryana, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy said, “He (Robert Vadra) is a thug, he doesn't need protection, society needs to be protected from him.”
“There is no law saying that press asks question to his liking. His (Robert Vadra) SPG should be withdrawn,” Swamy added.
Vardra was quoted by a news channel as saying, "Are you serious? Are you serious?" Mr Vadra snapped when asked about land deals, adding, "Are you nuts? What is wrong with you?"
Vadra and his security guards also threatened the reporter and asked him to turn off his camera at a private event held at the Ashoka Hotel.
A day after this incident, reactions have been coming in from across party lines, with Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh questioning the media glare over "a minor incident".
In a series of tweets earlier today, the Congress leader said he is "amazed by the media attention given to a minor incident involving Robert Vadhra. Why is a private citizen being unnecessarily hounded?"
"If he (Vadra) has violated any law to prosecute him. If has ill gotten wealth confiscate it, but this unnecessary media attention is not justified," he added. (sic)
Soon after Singh's comments, taking potshots, BJP today described the Vardra's action towards the journalist as 'monarchial highhandedness' and said it is not sober to do so in a democracy.
"This is not a minor incident, assaulting journalism is monarchial highhandedness and it is not sober to do so in a democracy. It is an irony that Digvijay Singh says that whatever Mr. Vadra did with the journalist friend was a minor incident," said BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, ANI reported.
Patra further asked Vadra to tender an apology for his indecent behavior with the journalist.
" Robert Vadra should apologize in this matter, no one becomes small by apologizing," he said.
Whereas, NCP leader Nawab Malik said, “People in public life need to behave decently. Congress should accept their mistake.”
“Whatever may be the case misbehaving with media person is not acceptable. What he did (Vadra) could have been avoided, media also should not try to grill anyone,” said another NCP leader Majeed Memon.
Further responding to Vadra's outburst, Aaam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh said, “Allegations do not mean you push mike away, press should be allowed to ask questions. Clarification doesn't justify misbehavior.”
Another BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “This is in bad taste, such things are not in his favour or his (Robert Vadra) party's and family's favour.”
“This is darkening the blot of corruption on his image,” Naqvi added.
Meanwhile, in a clarification issued by a TV news channel quoted a statement released by Vadra's
office as saying, "It was a private event and media was not supposed to be there, thought it was a private internal reporter asking questions, not ANI."
However, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Kattar said "the law will take its course" in investigating the Vardra land deals.
Veteran journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik said that Robert Vadra's behaviour reflected poorly on stalwarts of the Congress party - his wife Priyanka Gandhi and mother-in-law Sonia Gandhi.
"This behaviour of Robert Vadra has put Priyanka's future in jeopardy. It also reflects poorly on Sonia Gandhi and raises questions such as can a political family be brazen in face of corruption charges," he said.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said, "It's between him (Vardra) and media what happened. But we all live in a society and should try and behave as civil as we can with each other."
Soon after Dikshit's comments, another Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "Unpleasantness of repeatedly asking questions at private functions must be avoided at all times."
"Right of privacy to all individuals more so when individual in questioned is neither in public life nor holds political office. Deliberate hounding individual on issue that’s been conclusively settled & rejected by constitutional bodies must stop at some point." he added.