Cong washes hands off Alvi's ‘foreign hand’ remark

New Delhi: Facing controversy, Congress on Thursday washed its hands off party spokesperson Rashid Alvi's comments suspecting a foreign hand behind Anna Hazare's anti-graft movement and resenting US comments on the agitation.

"I can't comment.... Alvi is not here. I do not want to speak on his behalf.... Sometimes some human errors take place," party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary told reporters in reply to a volley of questions on Alvi's statements which have been slammed by the Opposition.

At one point, Chowdhary said that Alvi could have really meant that "you are open to criticism from other countries also" when situations like this take place in country.

Asked whether the party endorses Alvi's remarks, she said, "I can't say for sure."

A senior party leader speaking on condition of anonymity meanwhile admitted "it was an error".

When pointed out that the US has blamed "inaccurate reporting" in India for creating an impression that it had issued a strong statement on the campaign led by Hazare, Chowdhary cryptically said, "The matter ends there."

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, told reporters in Washington last evening, "I think this goes to inaccurate reporting in India that we had issued some sort of statement on -- with regard to this case that we did not issue. With regard to the case, however, you know where we are. We support freedom of expression and assembly. And we encourage all countries and all parties to do the same."

Alvi had yesterday said, "For the first time, the US said that Hazare's movement should be allowed and there should be no obstruction to it. What was need for the US to give this statement? ... whether there is any power which is supporting this movement which wants to destabilise not only the government but the country."