The Congress on Wednesday defended Priyanka Gandhi Vadra against accusations by BJP leader Narendra Modi that she made casteist remarks and distanced itself from the CBI's decision to exonerate his aide Amit Shah in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
Congress spokesperson Shashi Tharoor claimed casteism charges made by Modi against Priyanka were "very interesting" because she "made no remarks to caste".
Contending that the daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi was referring to the "debased level of political discourse" displayed by the BJP recently, especially remarks by Modi in Amethi, which were "unacceptable", Tharoor accused him of attempting to exploit a phrase "neech rajneeti".
The phrase meaning "low politics" was how Priyanka described Modi's remarks in Amethi, leading him to accuse her of making remarks on his caste origins.
"To attach to it idea of 'jaati' which never figured anywhere in her remarks is clearly and blatantly an opportunistic exploitation of a remark that has nothing whatsoever to do with Modi's caste. (It is) a naked appeal for support on the basis of caste," alleged Tharoor.
On the issue of the Central Bureau of Investigation telling a special court that it did not have sufficient evidence against Modi's aide and former Gujarat home minister Shah in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, Tharoor emphasised it showed the lack of governmental interference in the functioning of the country's premier investigative agency.
"As far as CBI's action is concerned, I think it is one more proof that institutions in our country under the UPA rule function freely and independently... Needless to say that it is a charge sheet, it is not exoneration by a court and undoubtedly the family and other complainants could have the right to pursue the matter through the judicial process," Tharoor said.
Commenting on Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav's statement about the possibility of a "hung parliament", he opined that "in our democracy, there is always a certain tendency for anti-incumbency. It is not impossible that we could be re-elected even with a slight decrease in the number of seats. Ultimately in a parliamentary system, it is not the percentage and opinion polls that matter; it is the total number of parliamentarians who are willing to support government formation. So, for us, right now what Sharad Yadavji is saying strikes us as a possibility amongst other possibilities."
Clarifying the party's stand on a report commissioned by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and uploaded on its website that praised the model for land acquisition in Gujarat, he averred that it is from a private company called Accenture and that "there is no such endorsement from any government agency. This is the report of their professional experts".