New Delhi: Junior Finance Minister Anurag Thakur was widely criticised Monday as he chanted an inflammatory slogan at a BJP campaign rally in Delhi.
“Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko (shoot the traitors of our country),” Thakur said at Rithala, invoking a slogan that has come to be associated with supporters of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act who have lobbed it at those opposing the law.
Thakur’s statement came days before he joins Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in presenting the Budget, his second since joining the high-profile ministry last year.
He was speaking at a campaign rally for the Delhi assembly elections, which are scheduled for 8 February. After he made the statement, Thakur clapped his hands and urged the crowd to chant the slogan along with him.
A video of Thakur chanting the slogan went viral Monday, but it was a short clip and the context in which the remark was made could not be determined.
Sharing the stage with the Minister of State for Finance was Union Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Giriraj Singh, who is notorious for making incendiary remarks. The two union ministers were later joined by Home Minister and former BJP president Amit Shah on stage.
The MP for Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, Thakur is the son of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
His use of the slogan came in for immediate criticism, with many social media users trolling Thakur for chanting slogans at rallies when he should be working on the budget.
Instead of busy with the budget coming up this week, MoF @ianuragthakur is busy with low level sloganeering for Delhi Elections..
Can understand why Economy/ Unemployment is falling falling everyday..
— Vimal Lakhotia (@vimallakhotia) January 27, 2020
Some Twitter users, meanwhile, tagged the Election Commission and demanded action against Thakur for what they saw as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct, which bars provocative language.
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) January 27, 2020
— Siddhartha Basu (@babubasu) January 27, 2020
Now it is official. Minister exorting people to kill. His is minister of state for finance. Will law take its course like it is pursuing Sharjeel Imam?
— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) January 27, 2020
Sad what ministers need to do these days in order to get a leg up in this government. As MOS finance he could try to do something about the eco. Or is the call to assassinate people related to a reduction in the fiscal deficit? Who knows. This guy thought demo was a masterstroke https://t.co/A9WKCHXNl8
— R. Mohan Kumaramangalam மோகன் குமாரமங்கலம் (@MKumaramangalam) January 27, 2020