New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday sacked its Uttar Pradesh (UP) vice president Dayashankar Singh from all party posts after his derogatory remarks against Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati sparked massive uproar and pushed the saffron party in a tight corner.
UP BJP President Keshav Prasad Maurya told reporters that Singh has been relieved of all posts and said "such language has no place in the party".
BJP has been wooing dalits, a politically crucial community in Uttar Pradesh which goes to the polls early next year, and Singh's comments have the potential to damage its efforts.
The party hopes that it will be able to contain the damage by acting swiftly against him.
"He has been relieved of all responsibilities in the party. There is no place for such language in BJP," Maurya said.
As his remarks drew all-round flak, even from his own party, Singh tried to do some damage control by apologising and claimed it was a "slip of tongue".
A furious Mayawati, who is a dalit leader, demanded that Singh be expelled and warned the government in the Rajya Sabha that she will not be responsible if people hit the streets.
Her party threatened to take legal action against the BJP leader. She was joined by leaders from other parties, including Congress.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley immediately distanced the BJP from Singh's comments and offered his regret.
"It is not right and I condemn the use of such words. I express personal regrets. I associate our dignity with yours and stand with you," Jaitley said.
Maurya while regretting Dayashanker Singh's statement against BSP supremo Mayawati has strongly directed the leaders and workers to maintain balance in their speeches.
He asked them to use dignified language when talking about the working style of opposition party leaders.
BJP drew severe all-round condemnation but its regret failed to douse the uproar in Rajya Sabha, which was paralysed on the issue.
"Mayawati is breaking the dream of Kanshi Ram into pieces. Mayawati is selling tickets like a...," Dayashankar Singh told reporters in Mau, Uttar Pradesh.
Singh's remarks drew severe flak from members in the Rajya Sabha, including women MPs, with Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien saying that the House wants the government to ensure that stringent action is taken against the BJP leader, as per law, for his "unforgivable" comments.
There was all-round condemnation of Singh for his remarks by MPs including Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, DMK's Kanimozhi, TMC's Derek O'Brien, Congress' Kumari Selja and Renuka Chowdhury, TK Rangarajan of CPI(M) and Satish Chandra Mishra of BSP and demands were made for action against him.
A visibly agitated Mayawati, who was present in the House, thanked Jaitley and all other members for their condemnation of Singh's remarks but demanded that BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah discuss the matter, expel Singh from the party and take action against him.
She said mere expression of regret will not suffice and added, "His (Singh's) remarks apply for his sister and daughter and not for me. The whole country will not forgive BJP... people will come on the streets."
As the uproar over the issue continued, the Deputy Chairperson adjourned the Upper House till Thursday.