Embarrassed by the sex scandal purportedly involving Andhra Pradesh Governor N D Tiwari, Congress on Saturday said he had taken the "appropriate decision" of quitting and acting on "moral principles", a contention ridiculed by the Bharatiya Janata Party as a bid to make a "virtue" out of it.
Soon after Tiwari resigned, All India Congress Committee media department chief Janardhan Dwivedi said, "I think he (Tiwari) does not want to hold an office till it is proved that whether it (the video purportedly showing him in a compromising position with three women) is true or false."
Welcoming Tiwari's action, Dwivedi said, "I think he has taken an appropriate decision keeping in view the high standards of public life."
Eighty-six-year-old Tiwari, who is purported to be in the video aired by a Telugu channel on Friday, resigned after both the Congress and the Central government dropped hints about the untenability of his continuance as governor.
Some Congress leaders admitted that the incident had embarrassed the party as Tiwari has had a long association with it.
"The Congress has repeatedly shown that it acts on moral principles irrespective of legal guilt. Tiwari disputes all charges and has an injunction in his favour. Yet, he has acted on moral principles as Shivraj Patil and R R Patil acted on moral principles," Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.
Shivraj Patil had resigned as Union home minister and R R Patil as Maharashtra home minister after 26/11 attacks.
"How many times opposition has done it, is an interesting contrast," he said.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi earlier in the day held a meeting with senior party colleagues Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony and Ahmed Patel to discuss the matter.
Meanwhile, the BJP slammed the Congress on the issue.
"The BJP had demanded his resignation because earlier also there were allegations against him in a paternity suit.
"In case of the high office of governor, the veracity or otherwise of an allegation is not the only consideration. What is important is dignity, integrity and prestige of the high constitutional office of governor which was shamed," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said."Therefore, the Congress need not make a virtue out of this," he added.