The Congress on Tuesday dismissed a controversy over remarks at a party minorities cell meeting attributed to former Gujarat chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela.
Vaghela, the Gujarat Congress campaign committee chairperson, had reportedly told the gathering on Sunday, “Congress has been branded a pro-minority party. So if you don’t turn up in higher numbers, it will only benefit the BJP in the polls.”
Referring to a by-election (Radhanpur) he had won in 1997, the former union minister of textiles had reportedly added, “I was called Shankerullah Khan by the BJP because I sought the votes of minorities.”
The remarks, a pitch to voters for assembly elections due in December, allegedly offended some people who attended the meeting at a farmhouse on the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar highway.
Vaghela, however, said his words had been misreported.
Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhvadia too took the same line and defended Vaghela. “His oratory style is rustic. What he said was misreported and twisted. He never said anything that can embarrass the party.”
In Delhi, Congress Working Committee member Anil Shastri said, “Congress has never been a party of one community alone.”