New Delhi, July 12: The Congress party on Thursday refused to take a clear stand on Shashi Tharoor's remark that India would become a 'Hindu Pakistan' if the BJP comes back to power in 2019, and merely said that its leaders should exercise restraint and choose words carefully before going after the saffron party.
Even other Congress leaders accuse the BJP of indulging in communal politics, but what is stopping the grand old party to openly coming out in support of Tharoor's remark is the use of 'Hindu Pakistan' phrase. Congress can not outrightly reject what Tharoor has said because his remark is in line with what they want to highlight about the BJP. If Congress supports it, then the BJP may spin it into an anti-national debate and corner the Congress.
All that the Congress said was to advise its leaders to choose the words carefully and not be provoked by the BJP.
Congress' Jaiveer Shergill
"Today, India is far ahead of Pakistan and in this Congress has a very valuable contribution. Congress workers shouldn't be provoked by BJP's polarising, hate and dividing statements. That is the basic difference between us and them," Congress party's Jaiveer Shergill said.
"Every Indian knows that the Congress represents a pluralistic, multi-religious, multi-linguistic society. Irrespective of the government which comes in power the Indian democracy won't allow India to become Pakistan," he added.
Tharoor said during an event in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday that the BJP will "tear apart the Constitution of India and write a new one", which will "enshrine the principles of Hindu Rashtra, that will remove equality for minorities."
(Image courtesy - ANI/Twitter)
"Modi Govt thrives upon an unprecedented atmosphere of division, bigotry, hatred, intolerance and polarisation for last four years. Congress, on the other hand, represents India's civilisational values of pluralism, diversity, compassion and harmony between faiths and ethnicities," senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a series of tweets.
"India's values and fundamentals are an unequivocal guarantee of our civilisational role and set us apart from the divisive idea of Pakistan. All Congress leaders must realise this historic responsibility bestowed upon us while choosing words and phraseology to reject BJP's hatred," he added.
The member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram defended himself and said he was "repeating what is on record" from the ruling party and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.
"I don't see what exactly I need to apologise for the BJP's point of view ... If they are no longer interested in the idea of Hindu Rashtra they must admit. Until they do so, how can one apologise for reflecting their point accurately?" Tharoor questioned.
The BJP today demanded an apology from Congress president Rahul Gandhi for Shashi Tharoor's remarks and said the MP had insulted India's democracy and Hindus.
"It is an abuse and highly objectionable statement to compare the world's sixth largest economy with Pakistan. It is an insult to our democracy and Hindus," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said at a press conference at the party office.
The Congress, Patra said, doesn't lose any opportunity to demean India and defame the Hindus.
"From Hindu terrorists to Hindu-Pakistan the Pakistan appeasing policies of Congress are unparalleled," Patra said.
He added that the Congress president should break his silence as the country demands an explanation. Gandhi should apologise to the nation for these insulting remarks by his party leader, the BJP leader said.