Taking exception to party leader Janardhan Dwivedi's praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a conversation with Rediff.com, the Congress on Thursday hinted that disciplinary action could be taken against its senior-most general secretary.
The 69-year-old Dwivedi, however, contended that he had not praised Modi and he was being misquoted.
"What Dwivedi has said is totally opposite to the Congress's idea of Indian-ness....The victory of Modi can by no stretch be the victory of Indian-ness," Congress general secretary Ajay Maken said at a press conference in New Delhi.
Slamming Dwivedi, who not long ago was the chairman of the AICC media department, Maken said the party condemns his remarks in the strongest possible words.
If one sees the seven-month rule of Modi as the prime minister and the 2002 riots in Gujarat, when he was the chief minister, "Modi can never become the symbol of that Indian-ness," said Maken, who is also the head of AICC communication department.
He said the last seven months of President's rule in Delhi, which saw the Modi government running the show, witnessed several incidents of violence including in Trilokpuri and Bawana.
"How can anyone be talked of as symbol of Indian-ness under whose leadership the national capital witnesses such incidents and whose ministers speak objectionable language and not being proceeded against?" Maken said.
Dwivedi's remarks are being lapped up by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in the midst of the keenly contested Delhi assembly polls and has left the Congress red-faced.
Replying to questions, Maken made it clear that the top party leadership will soon decide on the disciplinary action against Dwivedi.
Later, Dwivedi, however, contended that he never praised Modi. "I have never said Modi is a symbol of Indian-ness," he said.