New Delhi: Congress on Friday strongly backed the controversial remarks by Rahul Gandhi that prompted Election Commission to serve a notice on the Congress Vice-President following a complaint by BJP to the poll watchdog.
"Whatever he (Gandhi) had said during the rally, he had as a responsible senior leader to forewarn the people about the threat of communalism. It goes with the secular ethos of the country and was well within the parameters of the party`s ideology," party spokesperson Randip Singh Surjewala told reporters at an AICC briefing.
Surjewala`s remarks came on a day when Gandhi, in his reply to EC, denied having violated the Model Code of Conduct while seeking to justify comments that Pakistan`s ISI was in touch with Muzaffarnagar riot victims. Gandhi had also alleged that BJP was indulging in politics of hatred.
Sources said that in his letter to EC, Gandhi states that, being a politician and vice-president of his party, it was his duty to stand by the party`s ideology of communal harmony and speak out about those who are known to propagate communal disharmony.
Gandhi also said that he wanted to warn people about those trying to vitiate the communal harmony of the country, sources added.
Surjewala said, "As a responsible politician, Gandhi has given his reply in writing to EC... Congress`s stand is clear... Gandhi has written to EC about the principles on which he had to speak. He has cleared his stand."
Surjewala also attacked BJP over the issue saying the Opposition party was in the grip of a "Rahul phobia" and was reacting vehemently to whatever the Congress Vice President had to say.
Rahul, who was earlier asked to reply to EC by November 4, had sought an extra seven days to file his response. EC, however, had granted him only four days` grace.
After examining speeches made by Gandhi at Churu and Indore, EC had asked him to explain as to why action should not be initiated against him for having prima facie violated the Model Code.