New Delhi: BJP member and veteran Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani's comment on Ram, the protagonist in the epic 'Ramayana', has widened the divide within the party and also drawn ire from Congress and the Hindutva brigade. In an embarrassment to the national party which spearheaded the Ram Temple movement and Hindutva agenda, Jethmalani on Friday called Ram a bad husband for abandoning Sita when she was pregnant.
While Ayodha mahant Satyendra Das has demanded an immediate apology from the BJP MP, party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi taking a strong stand said Jethmalani should have not made the statement. "A person who thinks he is a learned lawyer and a BJP leader is making such comments on Lord Ram on whose name BJP played politics on. A leader of the same party is making such an allegation - it's absolute madness. There will a meeting of all the sants here in Ayodhya, we will announce a statement soon that Jethmalani apologises and take back his words," said Das.
Reacting to the statement, Congress leader Jagdambika Pal said Jethmalani has offended the Hindu community. "Ram Jethmalani has offended crores of Hindus. The BJP which used to praise Ram is now is abusing him and Vivekanand. Even if they apologise, the nation will not forgive them," he said.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Vinay Katiyar said he agreed with his party colleague's opinion that Sita shouldn't have been banished but he also poked fun at Jethmalani. Katiyar said, "Ram Jethmalani's name should have been Sitaram, because it has the names of both husband and wife." However he added, "Many do not find Ram's decision to be right, that too when Sita was pregnant. I too am of the opinion that pregnant Sita shouldn't have been asked to leave."
Jethmalani had said that Ram was a bad husband as he sent his wife Sita to exile for no specific reason. "Ram was a bad husband. I don't like him at all. Just because some fisherman said something, he sent that poor woman (Sita) to vanvaas (exile). Lakshman was even worse. When Sita was abducted, Ram asked him to go find her as she was abducted under his watch. Lakshman simply excused himself saying she was his sister-in-law and he never looked at her face, so he wouldn't be able to identify her." Jethmalani said.
Jethmalani has recently been in a war-of-words with party president Nitin Gadkari, whom he has been pressing to resign in the face of corruption allegations against him.