Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde became a victim of shooting from the hip recently when he said he would be happy to see Sharad Pawar become the prime minister.
The Congressmen, who under compulsion are supposed to look keen on Rahul Gandhi’s anointment as the PM candidate, tried to downplay Shinde’s unpalatable remarks to let the controversy die down.Fortunately for Shinde, the NCP came to his rescue by declaring that Pawar was not in the PM race allowing Shinde to clarify that he was misquoted and actually he wanted to make Rahul the PM.
Recounting Shinde’s oft repeated gaffes, a Congress leader said, “We can only hope that he does not shoot off the cuff again especially before the elections. It may cost us dearly in the current scenario.”
Prone to making gaffe anytime, Shinde has made such mistakes umpteen times in the past too, forcing his party to bear the onslaught of the opposition.
In November 2012, Shinde had put the government in an embarrassing situation by saying that the government had information of terror groups investing money in Indian stock markets.
The government was forced to contradict its home minister’s statement in parliament through his junior minister RPN Singh who said, “As of now, no specific inputs that terrorists are investing money in the share market and earning profits have been received from the securities market intermediaries.”
Soon after, in January, 2013 at the Congress party’s Chintan Shivir in Jaipur, Shinde had created huge controversy and earned the wrath of not only the BJP but other political parties as well when he alleged that investigations had revealed that the BJP and the RSS were conducting training camps to spread terrorism. The controversy could only die when he issued a written apology in the budget session of parliament in February.
On March 1 last year, Shinde had committed a serious gaffe by naming the Bhandara rape victims on the floor of the Rajya Sabha. The mistake was pointed out by the leader of the opposition Arun Jaitely and the names of three victim sisters were expunged.
Again on June 23 last year, Shinde had forced the government to scurry and go in for damage control when he blamed lack of coordination among agencies involved in the rescue operations for sufferings of people caught in flood-hit Uttarakhand.
The gaffe forced the government to field information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari to give a detailed account of how all the government agencies were working in seamless coordination and all the elements of government power have been brought in to rescue people.