Anand Sharma (Image: PTI)
Taking strong exception to some of its leaders calling for not demonising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress on Tuesday said if the opposition starts singing praises for those in power, then "democracy will be destroyed".
Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said unlike the BJP, everyone has the right to express themselves in the Congress as the party has not indulged in "demonisation" as some of the BJP leaders have.
"If the opposition gets into singing praises, then democracy will be destroyed," he said, when asked about the comments made by some Congress leaders in favour of Modi. Asked about his advice to such leaders praising Modi, he said, "I have quit giving advice, everyone should realise their responsibility."
Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Shashi Tharoor and Abhishek Singhvi have openly stated that it was wrong to "demonise" Modi as it was not helping the party and he needs to be praised whenever he does some good work.
"We have not done demonisation, what the prime minister or Amit Shah and some other BJP leaders have done. They are the ones who have demonised Jawaharlal Nehru, most uncharitable criticism of nation's martyr prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, insulting Congress president Sonia Gandhi repeatedly in various public speeches and former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi," Sharma said.
"So, I don't know how to make sense of it, that here we have been at the receiving end for long in social media and official statements and references of prime minister and the BJP leadership," he added.
Asked to comment on action being contemplated by Kerala Congress against Tharoor for his remarks, he said, "I can't comment on it. It would be between the general secretary in-charge Mukul Wasnik and the PCC chief. I believe, he is in Kerala as we are talking. Rahul Gandhi ji is visiting Wayanad and I am sure that they will talk among themselves. I am not a general secretary of the party who is authorised to make an informed statement."
The Congress in Kerala decided to seek an explanation from Tharoor, who has come under attack for his remark that Modi should be praised for doing the right things. A defiant Tharoor has stood by his comment.
Taking a strong view over Tharoor's remarks, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee chief Mullappally Ramachandran said several party leaders and workers have approached the leadership with complaints against his "Modi praise."
As his remarks created a furore, Tharoor in a tweet said he has been a "strong critic" of the Modi government and wanted fellow Congressmen to respect his approach even when they do not agree with it.
"I've been a strong critic of the Modi government, & I hope a constructive one. My staunch defence of inclusive values & constitutional principles has won me 3 elections."
"I urge my fellow Congressmen to respect my approach even when they don't agree with it," the Thiruvananthapuram MP tweeted.
The former Union minister has been facing flak from party leaders in Kerala in the last few days for his "Modi praise."
Ramachandran said "Congress workers across the country have expressed extreme displeasure over the statement made by Tharoor.
Party leaders have also approached me with written complaints. Hence, KPCC has decided to seek explanation from Tharoor in this regard," he told reporters at Kannur.
Meanwhile, Sharma when asked about cases registered against AJL Associate Journal and some Congress leaders including former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, he said it is vendetta politics ahead of Haryana assembly elections.
"That is vendetta politics after all National Herald or AJL Associate Journal were there, started during the freedom movement, there was not property owned by any individuals of the Congress party or anybody who can be beneficiary," he said.
Sharma hoped the cases of money laundering will be adjudicated upon and the courts will throw it out. "So, it should be taken in a holistic context. Why AJL is being singled out that is my question, that is not fair. Because Haryana elections are coming," he said.