New Delhi/Bhopal: BJP president Nitin Gadkari landed in a controversy on Monday over drawing a comparison between the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and fugitive don Dawood Ibhrahim in remarks which drew fire from the Congress.
Attempting to douse the controversy, Gadkari on Monday denied he had said Vivekananda and the underworld don had the same Intelligence Quotient (IQ) level and insisted his views had been presented in a wrong manner by the media.
"I have only said if someone utilises his brain in a good way, he is Vivekananda and if he does not, he is evil. There is no comparison and whatever I have said was presented in a wrong way, which is not right," he told reporters in Delhi.
Gadkari also released a statement in which he said he did not make any such comparison. "What I said was that if one used one`s intelligence properly then one could become a saint like Swami Vivekanand. I have been grossly misquoted."
Congress while slamming Gadkari for his remark, said it demonstrated BJP`s "level of thinking and mentality" and demanded an apology.
Speaking at an award ceremony in Bhopal yesterday, Gadkari said the IQ level of Vivekananda and Dawood could have been the same, but the spiritual leader had used it for nation building while the underworld don for pursuing crime.
"In psychology, we measure IQ level of people ... But it depends from person to person, in which area they use their intelligence," he said.
"As per psychology if we can compare the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and that of Dawood Ibrahim, then it could have been the same. But Vivekananda used it in nation building, brotherhood and spiritualism while Dawood used that in excelling in crime world," Gadkari said.
Information and broadcasting minister and Congress leader Manish Tewari said Gadkari`s speech is "yet another manifestation of their culture and mentality."
"How can anyone compare one of India`s foremost thought leaders with a criminal or with somebody who has clearly dubious and notorious records," he asked.
Tewari said a "mere clarification" would not suffice and the BJP should "apologize" to the people of this country, and specifically to the thinking people and the leaders of future.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who has been targeting the BJP chief over his business links, took to Twitter to target Gadkari. "In a function in Bhopal Gadkari said `IQ of Swami Vivekananda and Dawood Ibrahim was same`. Any comment from (Narender) Modi and his fans?" Singh tweeted.
BJP unhappy with leaking of Mahesh Jethmalani`s letter
The BJP on Monday expressed its ire over party leader Mahesh Jethmalani going to the media with his resignation from the national executive and hitting out at party president Nitin Gadkari, saying such an act damages the party and should have been avoided.
Jethmalani, who technically continues to be a member of the BJP as he has only resigned from the party National Executive, reportedly wrote in his letter to Gadkari that it is "morally and intellectually inappropriate to serve BJP as long as you are president".
The letter was leaked to the media before it reached Gadkari and other senior leaders.
Reacting to the issue, BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, "I have not seen the letter and do not know about its contents. But BJP is perhaps the largest party in terms of number of members and if every member takes such a letter to the media it would cause much damage to the party. This is not in the interest of the party."
He said it would have been better if Jethmalani had seen to it that the letter was delivered only to Gadkari.
Rudy defended Gadkari, saying he has already submitted himself to an inquiry. However, Rudy added a caveat that the probe against the BJP president is being conducted by the Congress government which is "hostile" and would "not be pleased" to give him a clean chit.
Asked if Jethmalani had taken this step to build pressure on Gadkari to quit, Rudy said, "There is no question of any pressure." He maintained that the allegations against Gadkari have already been debated inside the party.