Rajasthan minister says he did not mean to insult Patil

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

JAIPUR - Rajasthan Minister for Panchayati Raj Amin Khan said Wednesday that Pratibha Patil did cook for Indira Gandhi when she was not the prime minister but added that he did not mean to insult the president.

Khan insisted while speaking to reporters that he had been misquoted following similar remarks a day earlier that have triggered a huge row in the Congress-ruled state and beyond.

“I was misquoted. What I meant was that Patil was an ordinary worker of the party. And because she was a loyal and disciplined worker, she got an opportunity to become the president,” Khan said here.

“When they (Indira Gandhi and Patil) used to live together, they used to cook food and prepare tea. I did not mean any disrespect to her (Patil),” Khan said.

“I was asking party workers to be patient and serve the party without making any demands. President Pratibha Patil is an example for everyone to follow,” he said.

On Tuesday, the minister told a meeting of the Pali district Congress committee that Patil was rewarded with the presidency for having cooked as well as prepared tea in Indira Gandhi’s kitchen.

He said that when Indira Gandhi was out of power after losing the 1977 election, Patil would cook in her kitchen and even wash utensils.

“Finally she was rewarded with the countrys top position by Sonia Gandhi though Patil did not seek any position. She was rewarded for her loyalty to the former prime minister,” said Khan.

Leaders of both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have come out strongly against Khans statement.

The minister should not have spoken like this… No one can question Patils credentials, said Pratap Singh Khachriyawas, a Congress legislator.

Added BJP leader and former minister Rajendra Singh Rathore: “These kind of derogatory remarks are not proper. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot should remove him from his cabinet.”

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