New Delhi: BJP chief Nitin Gadkari Monday was in the thick of another controversy for comparing the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda to that of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim. Gadkari said he had been misquoted, but his comment sparked a flurry of reactions in the virtual world while the Congress demanded an apology from the party.
In a speech at an award function in Bhopal Sunday, Gadkari said: “In psychology, we measure the IQ level of people… But it depends from person to person, in what area they choose to use their intelligence.”
“If we could compare the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and that of Dawood Ibrahim, then it could have been almost similar. But their direction in life is so different. While Vivekananda used it for nation building, brotherhood and spiritualism, Dawood used it for destructive purpose, to excel in the crime world,” Gadkari said at the Ojaswini felicitation programme to honour leading women in various fields.
Cornered by reporters, Gadkari denied having made such a comparison. “I did not make any comparison between Swami Vivekananda and Dawood Ibrahim… I said if one used one’s intelligence properly then one could become like Vivekananda, and vice versa.”
“I am being misquoted,” the BJP president said.
The Congress said his remark demonstrated the party’s “level of thinking and mentality” and demanded an apology.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, who was till recently the Congress spokesperson, said Gadkari’s remarks were “yet another manifestation of their (the BJP’s) culture and mentality”.
Tewari said that a “mere clarification” would not suffice and the BJP should “apologise to the people of this country, and specifically to the thinking people and the leaders of India”.
The BJP leaders were hard put trying to explain the comment.
BJP leader Balbir Punj, while denying that Gadkari had likened the spiritual leader with Dawood, explained that the party chief “was only stating a fact” that any kind of power, money or intellect, can be used to purse good or evil things.
Twitter had a flurry of comments, including some unsavoury ones.
“#Gadkari Ji. You go horribly wrong in your assessment on Swami #Vivekananda’s IQ level. Please take some efforts to read his works,” Anirban Roy posted.
Faking News posted: “If you are outraged over Jairam’s Temple/Toilets comment but justify Gadkari’s Vivekananda/Dawood comment, hmm, carry on.”
Union Minister Jairam Ramesh had evoked strong reactions from the BJP when he said the country needs more toilets than temples.
Gadkari has been under attack from anti-corruption activists for alleged financial impropriety in business dealings in connection with his Purti Group. Gadkari has denied all charges and the party has backed him.