Hitting out at Narendra Modi over his veil of secularism remark, Congress on Monday said the “cloak of secularism” envelopes all faiths while the veil of communalism is sectarian and the country is witnessing a clash of these two visions.

Congress leader and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the choice before people was an inclusive India or an India which is sectarian.

“The cloak of secularism is all pervasive. It envelopes Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains — people of all faiths, while the veils of communalism are extremely sectarian. They believe, in their language people whom they qualify as ‘kutte ka bachcha’, which you (media) translated as puppies, should be crushed under the wheels of communalism,” he told reporters.

Mr. Modi had on Sunday charged Congress with wearing the “burqa (veil) of secularism” and “hiding in a bunker” each time it is confronted with a crisis.

Mr. Tewari said, “This polarisation is not about Hindus versus Muslims, it is not about those who are the sufferers of a pogrom and those who inflicted the pogrom. It is about the basic idea of India, what kind of India we want to see.”

“An India where people of all faiths, all religions, all dispensations, all inclinations have the right to progress in peace or an India which is sectarian in character, where some people believe that if you are not with us, you are against us and if you are against us, you deserve to be crushed under the wheels of communalism. I think that is the question we need to answer,” he said.

The Congress leader said that the country had to choose between an inclusive vision and one that was sectarian and majoritarian.

“I think we are again back to basics, the fundamental clash of visions. The vision of the Congress party is pluralistic and inclusive. And the vision of the section of the opposition has been sectarian, majoritarian and communal right from the beginning,” he said.

Referring to the ‘puppy’ analogy that Modi had used in a recent interview, Mr. Tewari said that he had been thinking for the last two days as to what should be done if a puppy comes under the car.

“Would you step out of your car, would you take it within your embrace and possibly rush him to Friendicoes to see that if you can help him to heal or will you reverse your car and crush him again? And for a person who would choose the latter option, I leave it to your judgement, as to how you would define him or her,” he said.

Asked about the conflicting statements emerging from senior Congress leaders on whether the party was planning to project Rahul Gandhi as its Prime Ministerial candidate, he said, “There are certain people who are interested in pushing an agenda and do not understand the basic fundamentals of the function of the Congress Party.

“Manmohan Singh is the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson of the UPA, we have a young leader in Rahul Gandhi, who the youth identifies and empathises with and this is the trinity which would lead the Congress in 2014,” Mr. Tewari said.

“So I would like to beseech you, do not raise ghosts and slay them and consider yourself as a superman,” he said.