Replying to specific queries from newspersons, party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said that "Everyone should choose words carefully." The reference was to Khurshid's remarks about IAC members including Kejriwal: "Let them come and visit Farrukhabad. But let him also return from Farrukhabad."
Khurshid went a step further by stating that "I have been made the law minister and asked to work with the pen. I will work with the pen but also with blood."
After news channels aired footage of this veiled threat, Kejriwal pointed out that Khurshid was behaving like a "mafia don". "Salman Khurshid has threatened me. The kind of language which he has used, it does not suit the stature of the country's law minister," Kejriwal noted.
Janatal Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav reacted similarly. He described Khurshid's comments as "inappropriate" and unwarranted. "Farrukhabad is not his fiefdom. It is a free country. Anybody can go to come back from anywhere," the JD(U) leader and NDA convenor said. "Khurshid is law minister. He should not make such remarks," Yadav stressed.
Initially, Khurshid's party colleagues pleaded ignorance when asked about his threat to the IAC members. While Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh claimed to be unaware of what exactly Khurshid had said, party spokesman Rashid Alvi even offered gratuitous advice to Kejriwal. The IAC activist should file a police complaint if he feels Khurshid has threatened to kill him, the latter said.
"How can any one stop him from taking the course of law? But we are sure he will not take this course because he is only interested in cheap publicity," Alvi quipped rather surprisingly about Kejriwal.
Attempting to defend the indefensible, Alvi added: "Khurshid is also political person apart being law minister. He must have meant to ask that how will Kejriwal come to Farrukhabad and go back from there."
According to sources, many in the Congress are upset with Khurshid. They feel his controversial remarks have dented the party's image.
Kejriwal had earlier accused the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, an NGO run by Khurshid's wife, of using forged affidavits to secure huge grants from the government.
IAC members also cited a TV Today sting operation that showed how the NGO's claim of having organised camps for the disabled in several districts of Uttar Pradesh was patently false.
On Oct 14, Khurshid produced what he averred was proof of some camps being held. However, the Economic Offences Wing of the UP police carried out extensive raids a day later as part of their ongoing investigation into the financial bungling by the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust.