Taking strong exception to Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressing Rahul Gandhi as shehzada, the Congress on Saturday did some tough talking, threatening that its workers were capable of stopping such "undignified" language but were restrained due to their respect for laws and the Model Code.
Defending Rahul Gandhi's recent election speeches -- where he had raked up the Muzaffarnagar riots -- the Congress said the motive behind Gandhi's remarks should be understood as he had said that communalism in any form should be opposed and condemned.
"The way Rahul Gandhi is being addressed and criticised by the use of language -- words like shehzada and alike -- this conduct is not dignified in a democracy. Congress workers are not reacting out of respect for the Model Code of Conduct and laws of the country and are thus quiet. Otherwise, the use of such words can be stopped in two days. We don't want such a situation to arrive," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said, without naming Modi.
The Congress leader was reacting to Narendra Modi's recent remarks in Jhansi, where he attacked Gandhi for saying that the Inter Services Intelligence was in touch with the Muslim youth of Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar, and dared him to reveal the identity of such persons or apologise publicly for levelling "serious allegations" and "defaming" the entire community.
Modi has also been referring to Gandhi as shehzada publicly.
"We have been seeing for a long time now that some people do politics even on very sensitive issues," Dwivedi stressed, adding that Gandhi had said communalism in any form should be opposed.
Attacking the BJP, the Congress general secretary said issues which do not have any meaning are being blown out of proportion in a bid to seek political mileage.
The BJP has petitioned the Election Commission over Rahul Gandhi's attack against it and for accusing the saffron party of spreading hatred in society by flaring up communalism.
"If a Hindu spreads communalism and hatred and suspects every Muslim, then he is supporting cross-border forces which are anti-India. Similarly, a Muslim fundamentalist is also strengthening the hands of those organisations which are spreading communalism and hatred in the country, though I do not wish to name them," Dwivedi said while seeking to explain the context of Gandhi's hatred remarks.
"Is there anyone, even those who instigated riots, who have the moral courage to say that communalism is a good thing and claim that they have indulged in riots," he said, questioning if there was anyone who was not ashamed of Muzaffarnagar riots or other similar incidents.
Accusing Rahul Gandhi of "inciting riotous behaviour" through his speeches at poll rallies, the BJP has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, seeking action against him and Congress for the "willful and blatant" violation of Model Code.
The EC is currently scanning Gandhi's speeches and have sought their copy, along with a report from poll officials.
In a no-holds-barred attack on the BJP in rallies in Churu and Alwar in poll-bound Rajasthan, Rahul alleged that the opposition party’s "politics of anger and hate" was fanning communal tensions and damaging the country's secular fabric.
The Congress vice president also invoked the recent Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh, in which 62 people were killed, to target the saffron party, saying such communal violence causes terrorism.