Virtually disapproving of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi's remarks, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday described the political incidents in Uttar Pradesh as "very unfortunate".
Gandhi has expressed "deep pain and anguish" over what has happened in Uttar Pradesh, All India Congress Committee general secretary Janardan Dwivedi quoted her as saying. Dwivdei told media-persons that the party regrets the personal elements in reference to Chief Minister Mayawati in Joshi's remarks.
Dwivedi said the Congress holds all women in the highest esteem and does not believe in crossing the limits of sobriety even in most provocative circumstances. Dwivedi said atrocities against women, especially those belonging to weaker sections, need to be addressed effectively by the UP government without delay.
On the incident of arson at the residence of Joshi in Lucknow, Dwivedi said, "the credibility and fairness of the Mayawati regime would also be on test on the way it deals with arsonists". Dwivedi said Congress will seek an explanation from Joshi
after she comes out of jail. "We will see what can be done after that," he said when asked if she will be asked to step
down as PCC chief. Party sources said Gandhi has asked for a CD of the statement of Joshi to see what exactly had been said on Mayawati.
Dwivedi, who also heads the party's media department, said "it was not necessary to use such words (against Mayawati). She could have expressed herself without (those words)". Asked about Mayawati's statement that Congress workers
were involved in the incident of arson at Joshi's house in Lucknow, Dwivedi said he would not comment on it as the matter
was being investigated and was sub judice.
AICC general secretary in-charge of UP, Digvijay Singh, however, demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation enquiry into the incident of arson and said it was "absolutely false" that Congress workers were involved. "At the time of fire (at Joshi's house), the media was informed. Police was there. The arsonists raised slogans in favour of Mayawati and against Joshi," Singh said. He said the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party in UP was targetting its political opponents.
Singh, however, did not demand President's rule in UP, saying it was an elected government which deserves to be in power for five years.