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Amid ‘Muslim party’ row, Rahul Gandhi tweets ‘I erase hatred, I am Congress’

A post on Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter wall described the Congress as a truly inclusive group that aims to battle hatred and fear.

india Updated: Jul 17, 2018 22:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,BJP,Congress
Congress president Rahul Gandhi interacts with farmers at “Chaupal pe Charcha” programme in Maharashtra.(Sunny Shende/HT File Photo)

Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday responded to the alleged “Congress is a Muslim party” remark attributed to him, saying his party stands with all “persecuted” people and “the last person in the line” irrespective of their religious beliefs.

The remark, published in an Urdu daily on July 12, has resulted in a war of words between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On July 13, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the alleged remark at a media briefing to allege that the Congress was playing a “dangerous game” and using the “card of religion and communal division” in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, raised the alleged remark during a speech in Azamgarh on Saturday. He went on to ask if the Congress was a “party only for Muslim men”, alluding to his government’s push to end the practice of triple talaq and alleging that the Congress was blocking a bill to abolish it.

Several Congress leaders, including chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, said over the last four days that Gandhi had been misquoted and the allegations being made about the remarks attributed to him were “false and baseless”.

On Tuesday morning, Gandhi said on Twitter: “I stand with the last person in the line. The exploited, marginalised and the persecuted. Their religion, caste or beliefs matter little to me. I seek out those in pain and embrace them. I erase hatred and fear. I love all living beings. I am the Congress.”

The BJP promptly hit back, calling Gandhi’s tweet a “confession” of his reported remark.

The party’s spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters that Gandhi has not denied the comments. “We could not see a negation of what Rahul Gandhi has said. It is a confession. He has clearly accepted it through his tweet that the Congress is a party for Muslims. It has confused rather than clarified,” Patra said.

First Published: Jul 17, 2018 13:22 IST