Lucknow : Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee President Ajay Kumar Lallu's tweet to describe former bandit queen and late Samajwadi Party MP Phoolan Devi as a heroic woman has kicked up a storm in party circles.
Lallu on Saturday tweeted: "Veernagana Phoolan Devi ke shahadat diwas par unko sadar naman (I respectfully salute heroic woman Phoolan Devi on her martyrdom anniversary)."
Phoolan Devi was shot dead at her Delhi residence on July 25, 2001.
"By referring to a former bandit as a heroic woman and terming her death as martyrdom, Lallu has lowered the dignity of the post he holds. How can any Congress leader pay tributes to a woman who shot dead over 20 upper-caste men in Behmai village in February 1981? Is this the ideology of the Congress which had leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru?" asked Vinay Raj Singh Chandel, national joint coordinator, All India Kisan Congress.
He claimed that if this trend continues, the day is not far when Godse Jayanti will also be celebrated in the state Congress office.
Chandel said that the Congress was being run by "paid" leaders who did not subscribe to the party ideology.
PCC member Sharad Singh alleged that the UPCC President was trying to "glorify the ideology of Godse".
"Phoolan Devi massacred over 20 persons and the then Congress Chief Minister VP Singh had to resign. She may have become an MP but that does not lessen the gravity of the crime she committed. How can such a person be called a martyr and a heroic woman?" he told IANS on Monday.
Konark Dixit, an expelled Congress leader, meanwhile said that the day was not far when the UP Congress would pay tributes to gangster Vikas Dubey, who along with his gang shot dead eight policemen in Bikru village on July 23 night.
Interestingly, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav had also paid tributes to Phoolan on her death anniversary but he desisted from glorifying her. He posted the poster of her biopic 'Bandit Queen' on his Twitter handle.