Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called the Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML) a "secular party” while addressing a group of journalists at the National Press Club in Washington on Thursday, June 1.
Gandhi was replying to a question about his party's coalition with the IUML to which the ex-Wayanad MP said, "Muslim league is a completely secular party, there is nothing non-secular about them."
Confusion over the remarks
The manner in which Rahul Gandhi answered the journalist’s questions sparked controversy and received criticism from leaders in the ruling party, BJP. However, in doing so, BJP leaders confused the Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML) with the Indian Muslim League founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1906.
Notably, the Indian Muslim League had led a movement among muslims, mobilising the masses in the 1940s, in united India which culminated in the partition of the country and the eventual creation of the state of Pakistan.
Reactions from BJP leaders
BJP leaders including Union Minister Kiren Rijiju have criticised Gandhi's comments extensively. Rijiju 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!"
UP deputy chief minister Brajesh Pathak also expressed his disappointment over Gandhi's remarks. He stated, "People of India will never accept the insulting of nation on foreign soil."
#WATCH | "This (Rahul Gandhi's statement) is very saddening. People of India will never accept the insulting of nation on foreign soil," says UP Deputy CM Brajesh Pathak on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi https://t.co/sxbl8ABCBt pic.twitter.com/ZIPsyyoc7W— ANI (@ANI) June 2, 2023
BJP IT cell head, Amit Malviya said "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."
Dismissing all criticism, congress leader Pawan Khera provided clarification to Gandhi's remarks. In a tweet made in Hindi, he said, “Are you illiterate? Do you not know the difference between Kerala Muslim League and Jinnah Muslim League? Jinnah’s Muslim League is what your forefathers allied with. The other was the Muslim League with which the BJP had an alliance.”