Congress reacts strongly to Modi's 'shehzada' remark
The Congress Saturday reacted strongly to Narendra Modi's "shehzada" remark for Rahul Gandhi and warned that its workers were capable of stopping "undignified" language but were restrained as they respected the law.
"The way Rahul Gandhi is being addressed and criticised by the use of language - words like 'shehzada' is not dignified in a democracy. Congress workers are not reacting as they respect law. Otherwise, use of such words can be stopped. We don't want such a situation," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters here.
He did not name Modi.
Speaking in Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi Friday, Modi referred to Gandhi as "shehzada" and attacked him for saying that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was in touch with Muslim youths of riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in the state.
Modi dared Gandhi to either reveal the identity of such people or apologise publicly for levelling "serious allegations" and "defaming" the entire community.
A day before, Gandhi, in his speech in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar, talked about the Muzaffarnagar riots and attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for fomenting communal tension for political gains.
Making it clear that references like "shehzada" for Rahul Gandhi will not be tolerated, the Congress said its vice president should be addressed the same way he addresses other people with respect.
Dwivedi also defended Gandhi's reference to Muzaffarnagar riots and said the motive behind his statements should be understood as he said communalism in any form should be opposed and condemned.
"Fundamentalism of any form gives rise to communalism which is not good for the country and no one should rake up such issues irresponsibly in national interest. We have been seeing for a long time now that some people do politics even on very sensitive issues," Dwivedi said.
The BJP has complained to the Election Commission about Gandhi's speeches.
Dwivedi said both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalism are dangerous.
"If a Hindu spreads communalism and hatred and suspects every Muslim, then he is supporting cross-border forces which are anti-India. Similarly, a Muslim fundamentalist is also strengthening the hands of those organisations which are spreading communalism and hatred in the country, though I do not wish to name them," Dwivedi said.
"Is there anyone, even those who instigated riots, with the moral courage to say communalism is a good thing and claim they indulged in riots," he said.
(Posted on 26-10-2013)