| Sonia Gandhi and Chandrababu Naidu
Hyderabad, Feb. 21: Taking the BJP line, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu today described Sonia Gandhi as “Captain Videshi”.
The comment, which came during the Telegu Desam Party chief’s reply to the debate on the Governor’s address in the Assembly, sparked a slanging match between the Congress and the Desam.
Angry Congress members stalled proceedings for more than four hours, rushed to the podium about five times and staged a dharna in the House, shouting slogans against Naidu and other Desam leaders.
In response to the Congress protests, Andhra home minister T. Devender Gowd unleashed a tirade against Sonia.
Blasting Congressmen for “choosing a weak leader like Sonia Gandhi”, Gowd said: “She is an Italian. She does not know anything about our Indian culture and also our ethos. What can she know of the travails of Indian women and farmers'”
Carrying on the mud-slinging, the home minister said the Congress president can never speak on her own and does not have an opinion on issues affecting the country.
“She just reads the speeches made by others… Congress legislators and MPs behave like bonded labour,” he said.
Congress members threw back expletives at the Desam. Leader of Opposition Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy shouted: “Your leader (Naidu) is a political backstabber. From P.V. Rajagopal Naidu to his own father-in-law, NTR, he has been cheating and backstabbing people.”
Gowd later apologised for some of his remarks against Sonia, which were then expunged from the records.
The row had broken out over a remark of Rajasekhar Reddy yesterday that, if the country wanted to win the World Cup, they should nominate Naidu as BCCI president.
“As Naidu made Andhra Pradesh win more medals by hiring players from all over the country, he would repeat the performance and hire cricket players from other teams,” he said. Naidu hit back today with: “Your captain is also a videshi.”
The Speaker adjourned the House after passing the resolution on the Governor’s address amidst the pandemonium.
The Congress legislature party is scheduled to meet here in the morning to take stock of the situation and plan its next step. The state budget will be presented before noon tomorrow.