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The Congress today reacted sharply to a Maharashtra BJP minister's personal remarks against Rahul Gandhi, saying he needs "psychiatric treatment." Babanrao Lonikar, Minister for Water Supply and Sanitation, made the remarks at a public meeting in the Marathwada region yesterday while referring to Gandhi's comments on farmers and farm loan waiver during his recent tour of the traditionally drought-prone area. Video footage of the event showed Lonikar castigating BJP workers for not staging a protest against the Congress vice president "in a democratic" manner after he criticised the Modi government over farmer suicides. Addressing rallies in Marathwada on September 8, Gandhi had lashed out at the Modi government over agrarian problems and rise in cases of farmer suicides, saying the "country needs agriculturists as much as it needs industrialists". The comment was seen by the BJP leader as aimed at the Modi government which the Congress has been accusing of patronising industrialists. "Effigies of those who criticise Modi should be burnt.
Eent Ka Jawaab Patthar se dena chahiye (when someone throws a brick at you, you should respond with a stone)," the BJP minister said. Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan slammed Lonikar, saying the minister needs "psychiatric treatment". "Lonikar's remarks have exposed the real face of BJP," Chavan, a former chief minister, said. Denouncing the minister, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, Lonikar's remarks are indicative of the "rot" in the BJP. "BJP needs to introspect as to the kind of example they are setting for the masses if their ministers utter such disgusting words," the Congress spokesperson said.
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