Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi might end up vouching for party candidate from Saharanpur Imran Masood who is in the midst of a raging controversy over his hate speech against BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
A press release from Gandhi’s office said Gandhi will campaign in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday during which he will interact with artisans at Moradabad and address public meetings at Ghaziabad and Saharanpur.
Police have registered a case against Imran on charges of spreading hatred in the society by using objectionable language.
Imran, the nephew of Congress leader Rashid Masood who is the first parliamentarian to be disqualified last year after he was convicted in a corruption case, is alleged to have threatened to “cut Modi to pieces” in the clipping shown on news channels on Wednesday.
“Hum Modi ki kutti kaat denge (We will cut Modi to pieces),” he said, triggering a political storm with the BJP asking the Election Commission to ensure the safety and security of Modi and other leaders.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley in his blog said Masood’s statement was not an isolated case of an unacceptable attack on Modi. “Sonia Gandhi, Lalu Yadav, Digvijaya Singh, Mani Shankar Aiyar have all led attacks on Modi, in improper language. It started with Sonia Gandhi’s words “Maut Ka Saudagar”. The mindset behind these attacks being made in unacceptable language is that an abuse on Modi is an expression of aggressive secularism. Abuse on Modi has now graduated to intimidation. Those who indulged in these tactics were rejected in Gujarat. The Congress has got desperate at the Centre in anticipation of defeat. Such tactics are not likely to work.”
The BJP on Saturday will lodge a formal complaint with the poll body that has summoned all evidences and documents related to the purported speech.
Saharanpur assistant superintendent of police Dharamveer said the video clipping appeared to be shot earlier and now investigations would be carried out to ascertain its authenticity and other aspects.
In western Uttar Pradesh dialect, however, this expression is used to mean teaching a lesson to a person.
On its part, the Congress condemned the remarks and sought an explanation from Masood who claimed that his comments were misinterpreted. “Masood has been asked to give appropriate clarification to media,” party spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
“Congress party abjures violence whether of language or otherwise. We are determined to fight BJP as also Narendra Modi politically in order to protect the idea of India.”