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Congress, NCP downplay remarks controversy

February 26, 2009 21:13 IST
The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party on Thursday sought to downplay the controversy that kicked up after "mischievous" remarks were made about Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in the NCP-supported magazine Rashtravadi.

"There is no problem between the NCP and the Congress. We have no differences with the Congress. We are going together in the election," senior NCP leader and Union Minister Praful Patel told media persons outside the Parliament in New Delhi.

"If they have clarified, it is okay," Congress Mumbai president Kripa Shankar Singh said, indicating that the Congress may not press its demand for an apology from NCP over the issue now.

Patel also sought to disassociate the party from the comments made in the magazine, saying "Rashtravadi is not the mouthpiece of NCP. Whatever there in Rashtravadi has appeared may be a completely personal view. NCP disassociates with the view absoultely. We do not share the perspective. We don't subscribe to it," Patel said.

"It is of course a magazine which was initially supported by the NCP but not as an official mouthpiece. Today, it is not even being run by the NCP directly, this is not our mouthpiece," he added.

Rashtravadi, widely believed to be NCP's mouthpiece, had in its editorial a few days back attacked the Congress party and its leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, provoking Congress to seek any apology from the NCP.

To a query whether the NCP apologise on the issue as has been demanded by the Congress, Patel said, "There is no question."

"I can apologise if the NCP has said something or if the NCP spokesman has said something. Even if had it been our mouthpiece, I would have accepted to apologise," he reasoned.

Patel, however, denied any danger to its alliance with the Congress. "We are with Congress in government in Maharashtra and Goa as well as here in Delhi. We are going together in the coming Lok Sabha election," Patel said.

The NCP leader also denied that any meeting had taken place in New Delhi between his party chief Sharad Pawar and the executive president of Shiv Sena Uddhav Thackeray.

"Sharad Pawar has not met anybody. I fully deny that any such meeting took place," he said on being asked to comment on media reports of the meeting between Pawar and Thackeray.

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