Under attack on Narendra Modi's Sohrabuddin remarks, the BJP on Friday hit back at Congress demanding action by the Election Commission against Sonia Gandhi for allegedly calling the Gujarat Chief Minister a "merchant of death".
Addressing a press conference, Leader of the Opposition LK Advani defended Modi to the hilt saying his remarks were in response to Gandhi comments and should be seen in the context of terrorism.
Launching a sharp attack on Gandhi, he said words like "merchant of death" and "dishonest" she had used against Modi were "highly objectionable" and warned that such talk would cost the Congress dear in elections.
Such remarks are also not good for democracy, said Advani, who emphasised that BJP and the Congress should be political adversaries and not enemies, a view which he shared with Congress scion Rahul Gandhi also.
He said the party has already complained to the Election Commission regarding the Congress president's remarks and "I would like to know whether Gandhi has been issued any notice so far.
"Election Commission should not have double standards and should adopt a uniform approach in both the cases," Advani asserted. Defending Modi, he said "on the basis of whatever I have read in newspapers, I can say that his statement would not have come, had the Congress President had not made those remarks."
Replying to a question, he said there was no question of admonishing Modi as he was talking in the context of terrorism and should not be given any communal colour.
"Gandhi demonising a democratically-elected Chief Minister as merchant of death is a provocation of the gravest kind, Advani said, adding it was a "personalised attack and betrays a perverse mind".
Noting that terrorism was a major challenge, he said if somebody, that too a Chief Minister who can proudly say there had been no major terror attacks in his state in the last five years, says something in that context it should not be given a communal colour.
"Terrorists are merchants of death no matter which religion they belong to," he added.
Asked whether he supported extra-constitutional killings, Advani said "absolutely not" and added that "in a democracy rule of law has to be observed and if there is a breach of law courts are there to take congnizance."
He also downplayed the resignation threat by Gujarat government's senior counsel in the Supreme Court K T S Tulsi on the issue.
To repeated questions, he said "after seeing newspaper reports, I got a feeling that he (Modi) was talking about terrorists" and asserted there was no question of glorifying violence.
Advani also sought to play down the dissidence in Gujarat BJP and said there was no question of taking action against former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, who has been constantly targetting Modi.
"In recent days he has not done anything that will warrant disciplinary action," he said in reply to a question.