Stoking a controversy, a Congress Lok Sabha candidate from Uttar Pradesh today threatened to "chop" Narendra Modi "into pieces", a remark that led to an FIR being filed against him by police besides sparking an outrage.
Congress distanced itself from the remark by Imran Masood, who is contesting from Saharanpur, saying it abjures violence whether of language or otherwise while BJP condemned it as inflammatory and dragged Congress President Sonia Gandhi into the controversy. The BJP also demanded strict action against Masood by the Election Commission.
Slamming leaders across the political spectrum,, Jaitley in his blog wrote, "Sonia Gandhi, Lalu Yadav, Digvijay Singh, Manishankar Aiyar have all led attacks on Modi, in improper language. It started with Sonia Gandhi's words 'Maut Ka Saudagar'."
A video footage of the election rally in Saharanpur which shows Masood attacking the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate has also gone viral on the web.
"If Modi tries to make Uttar Pradesh into Gujarat, then we will chop him into tiny pieces...I am not scared of getting killed or attacking someone. I will fight against Modi.
He thinks UP is Gujarat. Only 4 per cent Muslims are there in Gujarat while there are 42 per cent Muslims in UP," he said.
However, he later apologised for his remarks, saying, "I should have been more cautious with my words" and that the same were said in the heat of electioneering.
UP Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Amrendra Sengar said an FIR has been registered against Masood at Deoband police station of Saharanpur.
Sengar told reporters in Lucknow that the Congress nominee has been booked under section 125 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) of the Representation Of The People Act, and various IPC sections.
Besides, he has also been booked under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, he added.
Saharanpur District Magistrate as well as District Election Officer Sandhya Tiwari said a CD with the recordings of Masood's statement had been received by them which has been forwarded to the Election Commission.
"Congress party abjures violence whether of language or otherwise. We are determined to fight BJP as also Narendra Modi politically in order to protect the idea of India", party spokesman Randeep Surjewala told reporters in New Delhi.
Surjewala said when an explanation was sought from Masood he claimed he was being misquoted. Masood has been asked to give appropriate clarification to media, he added.
Jaitley while questioning the mindset of Congress leaders in the wake of Masood's comments on Modi said this is not an "isolated case" of an unacceptable attack on the Gujarat Chief Minister.