New Delhi: In remarks that could fuel fresh controversy, Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal today termed BJP as a “symbol of terrorism” even as the ruling party grappled with a political storm over Shakeel Ahmed’s linking of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen’s birth with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
“BJP is a symbol of terrorism…whatever they have done in Gujarat in 2002 is not less than terrorism,” Afzal told reporters on the sidelines of the party’s media workshop here.
He was replying to questions about BJP’s strong criticism of Ahmed’s remarks blaming 2002 Gujarat riots for the creation of IM.
Afzal said, “What does terrorism mean other than killing the innocents and harming them. I am not saying any new thing about what the BJP did. Media has also been saying it”.
He also termed the riots in Gujarat as “state-sponsored terrorism”.
Asked about Ahmed’s comments, he said the party general secretary has himself said that they were personal remarks.
Downplaying the controversy triggered by Ahmed’s remarks, he said, “If there are different opinions in the party, that should be taken as the democracy of strength. Better ask him (Ahmed) about it if it was his personal opinion.”
In the wake of the controversy, Ahmed today met party chief Sonia Gandhi.
Party leaders remained tight-lipped over the meeting and on whether he was summoned by Gandhi following the controversy.
Ahmed’s remarks have not gone down well in the party which had distanced itself from them. Party spokesperson Renuka Choudhary had said yesterday, “It is not the party line as of now”.
BJP had launched a blistering attack on the Congress over his remarks that this was the ruling party’s “desperate strategy” to communalise the electorate ahead of the 2014 elections.
Talking to PTI, Ahmed said, “Tweets are my personal opinion” but maintained that what he had said earlier on the microblogging site about IM and Gujarat riots was not his statement but the NIA’s findings.
“This was not my statement but NIA’s findings. The fact is that my tweet is not my statement. It is the finding of the NIA, which is mentioned in the chargesheet and it was published by two English dailies on July 20 and my tweet was on July 21.
“I am happy that the two newspapers were not able to generate that media hype, which a small tweet of mine did,” Ahmed said sarcastically.
“Indian Mujahideen (IM) was formed after the Gujarat riots, says NIA in its charge sheet. Even now BJP and RSS will not desist from their communal politics?,” Ahmed had said on Twitter earlier that kicked up the controversy.