Ghulam Nabi Azad says Salman Khurshid's Hindutva-ISIS comparison is factually wrong
Congress party may not agree with Hindutva as a political ideology, but comparing Hindutva with ISIS and jihadist Islam was exaggerated, Azad said.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has disagreed with the remarks made by senior party colleague Salman Khurshid in a new book wherein he drew parallels with Hindutva and dreaded terror outfits Islamic State and Boko Haram. In a statement, Azad termed the comparison as factually wrong. Azad reportedly said that even though the Congress party may not agree with Hindutva as a political ideology, but comparing Hindutva with ISIS and jihadist Islam was wrong factually and exaggerated.
Party sources say that the comments from Azad would be perceived as a face-saving attempt as the party enters the election season in Uttar Pradesh. Sources further say that a section of the party believes that Khurshid's remarks may backfire and may provide ammunition to the BJP to corner the party during the campaign phase. Some, reportedly, also believe that the release of Khurshid's book could have been delayed till the end of assembly elections.
Earlier, on Thursday, the BJP launched a scathing attack at the Congress. While demanding the sacking of Khurshid, the party claimed that the Congress was indulging in the politics of hatred at the behest of party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.
Party spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia, during a media briefing, demanded that Sonia come out and explain the party's position or else it could be construed that its ideology was against Hindus. The BJP leadership also recalled how it was Congress that first coined the term saffron terror. However, Congress has distanced itself from the controversy with leaders stating that the remarks made by Khurshid in his book 'Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times' were his personal opinion and that it did not reflect the party's stated position.
Ironically, the Congress party's ally in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena too slammed Khurshid for the Hindutva-jihadist Islam comparison. Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi took to Twitter to term the comparison as shameful. She went on to say that half-baked information may fetch publicity for Khurshid's book but it is hurtful to the sentiments of millions of Hindus.
Meanwhile, two Delhi-based lawyers, Vineet Jindal and Vivek Garg filed criminal complaints against Khurshid and urged the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR against the Congress leader for defaming Hinduism. They also claimed that the statement in the book had stirred 'enraged emotions' among Hindus.