Minutes after Congress president Rahul Gandhi posted a tweet attempting to clarify the alleged ‘Congress is a Muslim party’ remark, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded an apology from the 48-year-old.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “With his tweet, Rahul Gandhi accepted that Congress is a Muslim party.”
He also took umbrage to Gandhi’s remark “I am Congress” saying it sounds like “India is Indira and Indira is India”, referring to the popular Congress slogan coined in praise of the former Prime Minister.
“You say that Congress is standing with the last man in the line. But because you never stood with the last man in the line is the reason why the last man in the line is not with you,” Patra said referring to Gandhi’s remark that he stands “with the last person in the line”.
“Your tweet has created even more confusion. We demand an apology from you. You have still not issued a clarification on the news,” said the BJP leader.
Reacting to the controversy generated following an Urdu daily’s report, Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter, “I stand with the last person in the line. The exploited, marginalised and the persecuted. Their religion, caste or beliefs matter little to me.”
“I seek out those in pain and embrace them. I erase hatred and fear. I love all living beings. I am the Congress,” he said.
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the matter at a recent public rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh.
“I read in a newspaper that Rahul Gandhi said that Congress is a party of Muslims. I am not surprised because former PM Manmohan Singh had said that Muslims have the first right on India’s natural resources,” said the PM.
But while senior Congress leaders questioned the veracity of the Urdu daily’s claim and accused the BJP of creating a fissure, the reporter of ‘Inquilaab’, Mumtaz Alam Rizwi, stood by his report.
According to NDTV, Rizwi quoted Gandhi as saying that the Congress is a party of Muslims because the minorities are marginalised in the country.