Sonia's remarks not against Modi: Congress

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New Delhi, Dec 7 (UNI) The Congress today said its president Sonia Gandhi's remarks of ''merchant of death'' were not directed against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi but against the State functionaries.

''Ms Gandhi said nothing about Mr Modi. She did not name anybody. Her 'merchant of death' comment was against the manner in which the State functionaries were functioning,'' Congress leader Kapil Sibal told a press conference.

He said it was also wrong to say that Mr Modi's remark, justifying the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in a fake encounter, was a political response to Ms Gandhi's comment.

To support his argument, Mr Sibal mentioned former Gujarat DIG D G Vanzara, arrested for Sohrabuddin's murder, and asked: ''How many encounters did he carry out. Can any police officer do it. How can any Chief Minister defend him.'' Mr Sibal also produced copies of the advertisements that appeared in Gujarat newpapers before Ms Gandhi went there and made the comment.

These half-a page-advertisements, he said, were brought out by the Modi government and were directed against the Congress.

Translating the advertisements in English, he said they read: ''On the wounds of Godhra they poured salt. They Appointed the Banerjee Commission. They said the Fire was lit from within. They made our case weak. They want to save 100 accused. They lifted the 'Purdah' of the conspiracy. The battle is against terrorism.

Countrywide there is only terrorism. Jeetega Gujarat.'' About senior BJP leader L K Advani's press conference, in which he hit out at the Congress and Ms Gandhi, Mr Sibal said Mr Advani's press conference was going the same way his rath yatra went.

''When the BJP talk of Ram, they should bring Ram Rajya in Gujarat. They should inculcate the habits of Ram such as non-violence, inclusiveness, welfare of the minorities.... They talk of Ram, but do not believe in Ram,'' he said and added: ''I believe in Ram''.

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