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The Congress on Saturday took strong exception to Amit Shah's comments on Mahatma Gandhi, saying they were an "insult" to the father of the nation, and demanded an apology from the BJP president as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Rather than fighting casteism, they (BJP) identified even the father of the nation with his caste. This shows the character and ideology of the ruling party and its president. Where will these people take the country?" party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked. "We demand that Amit Shah, BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise to the country, the families of freedom fighters and every citizen for insulting the freedom movement...
And the father of the nation," he said. The BJP chief on Friday had referred to Mahatma Gandhi as a "bahut chatur baniya" (a very clever Baniya - the trading caste) while addressing a gathering in Raipur. Shah also said that Congress had never been a party based on principles. It was merely a "special purpose vehicle" to secure freedom. "Amit Shah, who himself is a trader of power, is today saying that the freedom movement was a business model. But in reality, before independence, Britishers used RSS and Hindu Mahasabha as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for partition of the country," Surjewala alleged. "Similarly, today BJP is acting as a SPV for few corporates for taking care of their business interests," the Congress spokesperson added. According to the Congress leader, Shah's remarks were "an insult to freedom fighters, their sacrifices and also to Gandhi".