The Congress on Friday hit back at the BJP for its statement that the opposition party was trying to create a “partition-like situation” in the country, saying that it was the BJP that was seeking to polarise people and divert attention from “real issues”.
In a sharp attack on the Congress, senior BJP leader and Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman had asked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to clarify his remarks reported in a Urdu daily that his party was a Muslim party and that he was on a course correction path.
The Congress has dismissed the media report as a “rumour” and asserted that it was a party of 132 crore Indians.
Taking on Ms Sitharaman, Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev said it was expected that with just days to go for the monsoon session, the Defence Minister would take up issues which are “unnecessarily to create a controversy and move away from real issues”.
“I request Nirmala Sitharaman ji that till today you have not bothered to answer to the nation about the Rs 58,000 crore deal of Rafale which is the biggest scam. If you have the courage in this monsoon session please make a suo motu statement and reply to the nation that how the defence ministry has conducted the biggest scam under your nose,” Ms Dev said.
Through her press meet, the defence minister “is trying to create tensions between people of different religions,” the Congress MP told reporters.
The Congress as a party has fought for the freedom of India, it has has stood by the Constitution and is a party that is inclusive, she asserted. Raking up the issue of 2002 Gujarat riots, the Congress spokesperson accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making repeated attempts to polarise people.
“We request you that do not through your press meets increase division, do not through your press meets go ahead towards polarisation because that is the only thing prime minister falls back on before every election.
“This has never been the politics of the Congress and get ready for some real answers in the coming Monsoon session,” she said.
If the peace shattered in the country, the government is responsible and not the opposition, she added.
“The news of Tharoor’s comments, the media report on Rahul are being twisted in the media. The prime minister has made repeated attempts to polarise. What were his intentions. Nirmala Sitharaman must answer this and then question the Congress.”
“Till today the biggest black mark in the history of India has been the riots of Gujarat and Prime Minister Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat at that time and till today he has not taken moral responsibility for that,” Ms Dev said.
Ms Sitharaman, in her remarks, had said that the Congress chief must come out and tell very clearly what he meant when he said that the Congress was a Muslim party.
She also said the opposition party was trying to create a “partition like situation” in the country, and it would be solely responsible if any disharmony plays out between now and 2019.
Earlier in the morning, Congress’ communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala, responding to a question on the Urdu media report, said when governance fails, rumours take precedence.
“When the government is on the path of lying, then rumours become the main policy of the government,” he told reporters.
No matter how much they try and spread rumours, Prime Minister “Modi’s supporters cannot hide his misrule”, he said.
Noting that the history of the Indian national movement and the history of the Congress are well documented, Mr Surjewala said the Congress is a party of 132 crore Indians, and will remain so forever.
An Urdu daily had reported that the Congress chief who met Muslim intellectuals on Wednesday told them that the Congress was a party of Muslims.