The Congress today hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for calling it a party which stood only for Muslim men, saying it takes everyone along and does not believe in divisive politics.
The reaction came after the prime minister attacked the Congress and Rahul Gandhi over his remarks reported by an Urdu daily and the party’s stand on triple talaq issue. “I read in the newspaper that the Congress president had said that Congress is a party of Muslims, and there has been discussion on this for the past two days. I am not surprised as when Manmohan Singh was PM, he had said that Muslims have the first right over natural resources,” the prime minister said today in a rally in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress spokesperson Pramod Tiwari said, “If any party that has taken every section of the society along it is the Congress. This tradition has been followed from Jawaharlal Nehru to Rahul Gandhi.” “We respect every religion and we don’t believe in the politics of division,” he told reporters. Countering Modi’s charge on tripe talaq, senior Congress leader and former Union minister Salman Khurshid claimed the prime minister “knows nothing” about the issue and should not speak on it. “Does the PM know what triple talaq is? Does the PM know any of these things. If he can say in public what is triple talaq, we will be very happy to answer him. I think, the PM should not speak on everything particularly on the subjects he does not know about,” Khurshid said. “There is no Muslim, Hindu, Christian party. There are political parties and they are political parties made up of human beings. It is good if the BJP was to discover what human beings are. They have spent too much time amongst those who are not human beings,” the Congress leader said in a scathing attack on the ruling party .
The BJP and the Congress have been sparring after the Urdu daily reported that the Rahul Gandhi who met Muslim intellectuals earlier this week had told them that the Congress was a party of Muslims. The Congress has dismissed the media report as a “rumour” and asserted that it was a party of 132 crore Indians. Sitharaman had yesterday demanded that Gandhi clarify his stand and alleged that the Congress was “playing up the card of religion and communal division”.
The Congress retorted by saying that the defence minister should first answer questions about the alleged corruption in Rafale deal and accused her of carrying forward the “polarising agenda of the prime minister”. “After taming Pakistan, eliminating terrorism, stopping infiltration and acquiring Rafale aircraft, the Defence Minister has all the time in the world to inquire into the religious affiliations of parties and persons!” former finance minister P Chidambaram tweeted.