The Congress on Thursday slammed senior leader Janardan Dwivedi for praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hinted that action will be taken against him.
Party's chief spokesperson Ajay Maken clarified that the Congress did not share Dwivedi's views on Modi and said the high command will soon take a call on strong disciplinary action against Dwivedi, who is considered close to party president Sonia Gandhi.
"How are the 2002 Gujarat riots a victory of Indian values? Even in Delhi with the state directly coming under central rule there were riots in Trilopuri and Bhawana. Churches were vandalised. Hate speeches were made against minorities. How are all that a victory of Indianness?" Maken said.
Continuing his attack on Dwivedi, Maken said, "Those who want to understand Indianness should read Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Swami Vivekanand."
Congress sources did not rule out the possibility of Dwivedi being divested of the key party post.
The incident has once again brought to the fore the increasing tension between the old guard and GenNext in the Congress after Rahul Gandhi's greater involvement in decision making in the party.
Minutes later, Dwivedi once again came out with another clarification on his reported statement and maintained that he had never praised Modi but made a statement analysing the election results and the reasons for Congress' debacle.
"Not at all. Not even a single word. I have never said that Modi is a representative of Indianness. I could have never have said that," he said.
In an indirect reference to Maken, Dwivedi said, "I know and understand fully well what Bhartiyata means," and added he "won't take lessons from anybody on this".
Dwivedi's interview to a news portal had left the Congress red faced on Wednesday, prompting the senior leader to clarify saying he was quoted out of context.
"Modi has been successful in convincing people that from a social point of view, he is closest to Indian citizens. His is a victory of Indianness," rediff.com had quoted him as saying.
Dwivedi also said that Modi has started a "new era".
As the interview stirred a controversy and became the talking point in Congress circles, Dwivedi later told reporters that he had given an "objective" analysis that the election results of 2014 was not the victory of Modi or the BJP but defeat of the Congress.
Modi and the BJP succeeded in projecting that they were closer to Indian people and presented their victory as that of Indianness, he said.
"The voters felt like that."
Clarifying further, the Congress leader said the BJP's victory has ushered in a new time which has brought forth a very big challenge before the Congress and there is no scope for any misunderstanding over the issue.
Rediff.com later maintained that certain phrases in Hindi in the copy have been modified.
As the interview created speculation over the course of action on his, Dwivedi made it clear that people like him do not change their thought and loyalties.
"If such a time comes, I will keep away from partisan politics. It is just unthinkable that I will do something else," he said.
Dwivedi is not the first Congress spokesperson in recent times who has landed in trouble for expressing admiration for Modi. Earlier former Union minister Shashi Tharoor was removed from his post after going soft on the Prime Minister.
Congress sources said there cannot be different yardstick for different people and that the leadership will send a strong signal to all by taking stern action against him.