Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday questioned Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tarun Vijay racist remarks on South Indians, asking him whether he believed whether only BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh members were Indians. “When Tarun Vijay said ‘we live with blacks’, I ask him who is ‘we’? Was he referring to BJP/RSS members as the only Indians?” the former finance minister said on Twitter.
The BJP leader had courted controversy on Friday with a statement he made during an interview on Al Jazeera. While speaking about the allegedly racist attacks on African nationals in Greater Noida, he had said that if India was, indeed, racist, we would not “live with” “black people around us”. “If we were racist, why would....all the entire South – you know, Kerala, Tamil, Andhra, Karnataka – why do we live with them?...We have blacks...black people around us.”
Vijay had later apologised for his remarks, explaining that he had meant to convey that Indians were not racist even though the country has “people with different colours and culture”. “I can die, but how can I ridicule my own culture, my own people and my own nation? Think before you misinterpret my badly-framed sentence,” he had said.
The BJP leader’s remarks had drawn reactions from other political leaders, as well. Another senior Congress member and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said, “BJP has a tendency to discriminate against the people of the country and against countries with whom we try to maintain relations.”