New Delhi, Dec 8 (UNI) The Congress today asserted that the "merchant of death" remark of its President Sonia Gandhi against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was "apposite" and "mild," and her statement reflected the consistent stand of the party in respect of the description of Mr Modi.
The Party's clarification comes a day after Union Minister Kapil Sibal sought to be on the defensive saying that the remarks of Ms Gandhi made during the Gujarat poll campaign were not directed against Mr Modi, but against the state functionaries.
In the light of the reported feeling that the clarification of Mr Sibal had created the impression that the Congress Party was afraid of Mr Modi, AICC spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi today sought to put the record straight saying what Ms Gandhi said was "appropriate and many says that it was mild." Dr Singhvi said the party's stand had been stated by him at the briefings on Monday and Tuesday this week.
This stand was identical to what Ms Gandhi had said about Mr Modi, he said, indirectly admitting what Mr Sibal said yesterday was not the stand of the party.
''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,'' the Union Minister said.
On the reported statement of BJP leader L K Advani that Mr Modi's remark, justifying the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in a fake encounter, was a political response to Ms Gandhi's comment, Dr Singhvi said : "no right thinking person can or will ever equate the statement of Ms Gandhi with that of Mr Modi." "This is a desperate attempt of the BJP to justify the unjustifiable," he added.
Referring to the statement of Mr Advani that Mr Modi's remarks about Sohrabuddin was in reference to terrorism, Dr Singhvi said "It is nothing but a clever distortion." "In the light of Mr Modi's acts, omissions and differences over several years, his confessional statements a few days ago and also in the light of his government's affidavit in the Supreme Court, we leave it to the people to judge the true face and character of Mr Modi and his government," he added.