Congress today came out in support of its Saharanpur candidate Imran Masood, arrested for his remarks against Narendra Modi, stressing that the said speech was made when he (Masood) was in the Samajwadi Party.
"The said speech which has been recorded through a mobile phone was made on September 18, 2013 whereas Masood joined the Congress only on March 8, 2014," chairman of communication department of the UPCC Satyadev Tripathi said.
"The man standing next to Masood is Sher Singh of Kalheri village of Deoband and he died on December 4, 2013," Tripathi said adding that when it was delivered the administration had overlooked it as he was then in the ruling party.
"After joining the Congress and becoming candidate, he has not used any such language as the party does not endorse it... if he had said such a thing when not in the party how can we do anything against him," Tripathi said.
Terming the matter a conspiracy of BJP, SP and administration to malign Masood, Tripathi said that it also does not amount to violation of Model Code of Conduct as it came into effect only after the announcement of elections on March 5.
"We have sought time from the Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha and would apprise him about the details besides telling him that there was no violation of Model Code of Conduct," he said hoping that Masood would be released by Monday and would contest the elections.
On BJP condemning Masood, he recalled as to how its leader Varun Gandhi who was jailed for his hate speech was promoted after being released and how its legislators Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana gave hate speeches openly.
"It only shows BJP's dual character," Tripathi said adding that SP had been annoyed with Masood for leaving its fold.
In a video that went viral on the web, Masood threatened to "chop" Narendra Modi "into pieces", a remark that led to an FIR being filed against him by police besides sparking an outrage. He has been subsequently arrested early today.
On the attack by Bundelkhand Adhikar Sena workers at the UPCC headquarters here yesterday, Tripathi said that it had been instigated by former MP, Ganga Charan Rajput, as he was asked by a senior BJP leader to first do something worthwhile before the party could consider giving him ticket.
He said that the party has sought additional security after yesterday's incident.