Union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Gadkari said party workers should fulfil their domestic responsibilities first before working for the party and the country, PTI reported on Sunday.

Gadkari made the statement while addressing a gathering of former workers of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the BJP’s students’ wing, in Maharashtra’s Nagpur on Saturday.

Gadkari told the gathering that he comes across people who say they want to devote their lives to the BJP. “I asked [one person] what do you do, and who all are there in your family,” Gadkari said. Gadkari said the man told him that he had closed his shop as business was not doing well and that he had a wife and children.

Several social media users read the remark as a sly reference to Prime Minister Modi’s decision to abandon his wife decades ago.

“I said [to him] first take care of your home, because one who can not manage his home cannot manage the country,” Gadkari told the gathering. “Hence first manage your home and look after your children properly, then work for the party and country.”

Last week, Gadkari had urged governments to make only those promises that could be fulfilled, saying citizens would beat up politicians who made them dream but failed to fulfil them. The BJP later clarified that Gadkari was referring to the Congress and its chief Rahul Gandhi, and not his own party, when he made the comment.

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