Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who is on his three-city visit to the United States has once again sparked a row after he said that Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Kerala is completely a "secular party" inviting criticism from the BJP.
Rahul, when asked about Congress's alliance with Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Kerala, said that Muslim League is a completely secular party, there is nothing non-secular about the Muslim League.
"Muslim League is a completely secular party, there is nothing non-secular about them. I think the person (reporter) hasn't studied the Muslim League," the Congress leader said during an interaction with journalists at the National Press Club in Washington DC on Thursday.
Responding to a question on the Congress's alliance with Muslim League in Kerala, Rahul said, "Muslim League is a completely secular party, there is nothing non-secular about them. I think the person (reporter) hasn't studied the Muslim League."
He was responding to questions from journalists during a free-wheeling conversation at the National Press Club in Washington on Thursday.
The Indian Union Muslim League, is an ally of the Congress-led UDF in Kerala. Rahul Gandhi represented Wayanad in the Lok Sabha before being disqualified from Parliament.
However, the former INC President's remark has led to a considerable war of words between the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress.
Contradicting Rahul Gandhi's claims on IUML's ideology, BJP leaders criticised the Congress leader.
Drawing parallels between IUML and founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah's political party All India Muslim League, Union minister Kiren Rijiju lashed out at Gandhi stating that it was "extremely unfortunate" that some people in the country "still consider the person who supports the Muslim League as Secular."
Rijiju also asked how Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Muslim League which was "responsible" for India's partition on religious lines be a secular party.
Taking to Twitter, the BJP leader said, "Jinnah's Muslim League is a secular party? The party responsible for India's partition on religious lines is a secular party? Extremely unfortunate that some people in India still consider the person who supports the Muslim League as Secular!"
BJP leader Amit Malviya also has criticised Rahul Gandhi for his remark stating that the Congress leader's compulsion to remain acceptable in Wayanad that he called Muslim League a "secular party".
"Jinnah's Muslim League, the party responsible for India's partition, on religious lines, according to Rahul Gandhi is a 'secular' party. Rahul Gandhi, though poorly read, is simply being disingenuous and sinister here...It is also his compulsion to remain acceptable in Wayanad," BJP leader Amit Malviya said in a tweet.
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij also came down heavily at Rahul over his statements and alleged that he has been continuously running 'hate India campaign'.
"Rahul Gandhi probably does not know that India has become independent and the problems here will be solved only by the government here... Rahul Gandhi is continuously running the Hate India campaign. They have become merchants of hatred in the market of love," Vij said.
Responding to the criticism, the Congress party slammed the BJP and set a distinction between Jinnah's Muslim League and the state party.
Congress leader Pawan Khera has supported Rahul Gandhi's statement.
He said that this Muslim League is the League with which BJP has forged an alliance in Nagpur.
"I think today's BJP - that of PM Modi and HM Amit Shah doesn't have knowledge of Indian politics. They might have knowledge of Pakistan's politics but not India's...Syama Prasad Mookerjee had forged an alliance with Jinnah's Muslim League. This (IUML) is that Muslim League with which BJP forged an alliance in Nagpur municipal..." Khera said.
Earlier in Washington DC when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was asked about Congress's alliance with Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Kerala, he said that Muslim League is a completely secular party, there is nothing non-secular about the Muslim League.
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala has also asserted that Rahul Gandhi is '100 per cent correct' and that IUML is a secular party.
While talking to ANI, Ramesh Chennithala said, "Definitely, IUML (Indian Union Muslim League) is a secular party. They believe in secularism, they fight for secularism and they are against fascist movements. So, whatever Rahul Gandhi said is 100 per cent correct."
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has talked about a range of topics including press freedom, his disqualification from the Lok Sabha, opposition unity along with taking jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)