New Delhi: Congress on Monday accused BJP of running a "mala fide and defamatory" campaign against Rahul Gandhi over the citizenship issue for political vendetta and asserted the party vice president has never applied for or acquired the citizenship of any other country.
"Rahul Gandhi has since his birth only been an Indian citizen. He has never applied for or acquired the citizenship of any other country," Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.
His remarks came after a notice was issued by the Ethics Committee of Parliament, chaired by BJP veteran L K Advani, seeking Gandhi's response to allegations related to declaration of his citizenship in the UK.
As for questions being raised repeatedly by BJP leaders outside Parliament, Surjewala said, "These are nothing more than the continuing political vendetta of BJP and its leadership against the Congress leadership."
Noting the facts in this matter can easily be verified by the government, he said this campaign is "mala fide and defamatory".
He said Gandhi will reply to the notice by the Ethics Committee.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi told reporters "we will deal with it" when he was asked about the issue.
In the first week of January, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had forwarded to the Ethics Committee the complaint of BJP MP Maheish Girri requesting for "appropriate inquiry" into party colleague Subramanian Swamy's allegations that Gandhi had declared himself a British citizen to float a firm in that country.
Party leader Digvijaya Singh said the complaint did not deserve attention. "A person who is born in India and whose grandmother and father have been Prime Ministers of India, can that person be a citizen of some other country. The Ethics Committee should dismiss it," he said
The Supreme Court had in November last year rejected a plea seeking a CBI inquiry into the allegations against Gandhi and questioned the "authenticity of the document" attached with the PIL and the manner in which the papers were procured.