Haryana Power Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala kicked off a storm on Thursday with his remarks on the communal riots in the national capital that have already cost 34 lives. The minister, who was asked about the recent round of violence in the national capital, told reporters this wasn't the first time that riots had happened.
"Riots keep on happening. They have been happening in the past too… When Indira Gandhi was assassinated, all of Delhi was burning. It is a part of life, that keeps on happening," the minister told reporters, according to a video put out by news agency ANI.
In Delhi, Chautala continued, the government had promptly controlled it. "Yesterday curfew was imposed in these parts…. Because this relates to Delhi and is a judicial matter, I will not comment," he said.
Ranjit Chautala, an independent lawmaker from Rania assembly seat in Sirsa district, was inducted in the Manohar Lal Khattar cabinet last year when the Bharatiya Janata Party stitched together a coalition after failing to get a simple majority in the 90-member assembly.
The 74-year-old is the son of Devi Lal, the former deputy prime minister who founded the Indian National Lok Dal. He had served as agriculture minister between 1987 and 1989 but revolted against his brother Om Prakash Chautala after the brazen and violent rigging of by-polls on OP Chautala's seat Meham.
He later joined the Congress where he stayed for a decade. He left the Congress for the BJP for a bit but was back in the Congress. He eventually contested the 2019 elections as an independent after he didn't get a Congress ticket.
But this isn't the first time that Chautala has landed in a controversy after becoming power minister over his comments. Ranjit Chautala found himself on the firing line over his proposal that children of power consumers who haven't paid their electricity bills shouldn't be allowed to sit for competitive examinations.