"Giriraj Singh has clarified his position. The matter has ended and should not be made an issue by our opponents. Giriraj Singh has expressed his regret," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters in the city, where party leaders have converged for the National Executive meeting.     

"The matter should be considered as closed. BJP considers the matter as closed," he said.

Hussain was replying to questions posed to him on Congress' protests against Singh's remarks against Sonia Gandhi. The BJP leader, however, evaded queries on Congress’ demand for sacking of the minister.

Congress and NSUI workers today staged a major protest at a junction, about a kilometre away from a hotel where top BJP leaders have gathered for the party's two-day National Executive meeting beginning tomorrow.

The protesters shouted slogans Singh and burnt his effigy.

BJP chief Amit Shah today addressed a meeting of office bearers ahead of the National Executive meet.

According to party sources, Singh was forced to express his regrets after a call from Shah who made it clear to him that "such language" was not acceptable.
They said Shah called Singh over telephone and made it clear in no uncertain terms that it was unbecoming of a minister to use such a language.

The minister has kicked up a row with his remarks asking whether Congress would have accepted Sonia Gandhi's leadership had she not been white-skinned.

"Had Rajiv Gandhi married a Nigerian woman and if she was not a white-skinned woman, would the Congress have then accepted her (Sonia's) leadership?" he had told journalists on Tuesday.

To another question on Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam allegedly making derogatory remarks against Union Minister Smriti Irani, Hussain said it would not be proper to link both the issues and the matter has ended as far as the party is concerned.

"Sanjay Nirupam has been making such statements. The people already given him a befitting reply," he said.

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