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Chidambaram hits back at Defence Minister over ‘Muslim party’ jibe

By Deepika

New Delhi, July 14: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday hit back at defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman following her "Muslim Party' jibe at the Congress.

Senior Congress leader Chidambaram

In a series of tweets, the former minister targeted Sitharaman for her press conference on Friday where she accused the Congress of dividing people on the basis of religion.

Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said, "After taming Pakistan, eliminating terrorism, stopping infiltration and acquiring Rafale aircraft, the Defence Minister has all the time in the world to inquire into the religious affiliations of parties and persons!"

"The Defence Minister says there are 'plans to incite riots in the run-up to Lok Sabha election'. She should share her secret (?) information with the Home Minister," Chidambaram added.

On Thursday, an Urdu daily had reported that Gandhi, who met Muslim intellectuals on Wednesday, had told them that the Congress was a party of Muslims.

Quoting the report, Sitharaman on Friday had said, "Congress party is playing a dangerous game, playing communal division, playing up the card of religion. It is frightening that it may lead to the kind of division and kind of communal disharmony that prevailed during the 1947 partition. Congress party shall be solely responsible if any disharmony plays out between now and the 2019 elections."

She further added: "We think Congress is getting back at this Divide India mindset. It is clear that 2019 election, they want to contest it at dharm ki aadhaar par (on the basis of religion). Its foundation has been laid."

Sitharaman also attacked the Congress saying that earlier the party had claimed that Gandhi was a janeu-dhari (one who wears the sacred thread). But she pointed out that, "You can't be janeu-dhari at one point and Muslim-dhari at another... This is playing with the people's trust."

Meanwhile, historian Syed Irfan Habib, who was present at the gathering of Muslim intellectuals on Wednesday, denied that the Rahul Gandhi made any such remark.

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