New Delhi, Oct. 17: Law minister Salman Khurshid has dared Arvind Kejriwal to stage a protest in his constituency Farrukhabad but wondered “how he (would) go back”, prompting the India Against Corruption activist to interpret the comment as a veiled murder threat.
The purported challenge came at a closed-door event here last night, two days after the minister had publicly contested allegations that an Uttar Pradesh-based trust he runs for the differently abled was involved in defalcating government funds.
“I have been made the law minister and asked to work with the pen. I will work with the pen but also with blood,” Khurshid said, according to footage of the event aired by some channels.
On Kejriwal’s threat to stage a demonstration in his constituency from November 1, the Congress leader said: “Kejriwal has said he will come here. Let them come and visit Farrukhabad. But how will he go back?”
Kejriwal, who has demanded that Khurshid step down so that there could be an impartial probe, claimed the minister’s comments amounted to a threat.
“Mr Salman Khurshid has threatened me. The kind of language which he has used, it does not suit the stature of the country’s law minister,” he said.
“Killing me won’t help because the country has been awakened. If one Arvind is killed, there will be another 100 Arvinds. Rather than threatening like this, it would be better that the Congress sensed the anger of people and took some concrete steps against corruption.”
Kejriwal, who addressed a media conference today with associates Prashant Bhushan and Anjali Damania, asked people to march to Farrukhabad. “We will go to Farrukhabad and we will return from there as well,” he asserted.
“Jaa ko rakhe saiyan, maar sake na koi,” he said, referring to a north Indian saying that those protected by the gods cannot be killed by mere mortals.
Bhushan, a senior lawyer, said Khurshid had sounded like “a mafia don”.
Khurshid sought to defend his outburst. “Even if we sigh, our image is tarnished. But others get away with murder,” he said.
He clarified that his comment had been taken out of context as what he had meant was he would aggressively counter the allegations.
The Congress evaded questions on the minister’s comments.
“I have not heard his comments. We will find out and then react,” party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, but added that Kejriwal could approach police if he found the remarks objectionable.
Rahul meets PM
Rahul Gandhi today called on Manmohan Singh to discuss the impending cabinet shuffle, expected soon after Dussehra.
Sources said the Congress general secretary’s meeting with the Prime Minister was part of hectic parleys within the party to give final touches to the shake-up.
Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had yesterday met President Pranab Mukherjee. Rahul, too, is expected to call on the President soon.