The Congress on Sunday distanced itself from the comment of Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, on the controversy sparked by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on ISI getting in touch with Muzaffarnagar riot-hit youth.

Party spokesperson Meem Afzal said Mr. Gandhi has already clarified his statement in reply to the Election Commission (EC) and the party has also spoken about the issue.

“I do not know what Jairam Ramesh has said. But whatever he might have said may be his personal view. This is not the view of the party,” Mr. Afzal said.

On Saturday, senior Urdu journalists had conveyed to Mr. Ramesh that the community was hurt by Rahul Gandhi’s remarks and suggested that the Congress vice-president should apologise.

In response, Mr. Ramesh had acknowledged the controversy created by the remarks and said what they have suggested may be considered. The Union Minister had said even some of his non-Muslim friends expressed dismay over the ISI comments, but clarified that the intention was never to hurt anyone.

The EC had earlier reprimanded Gandhi for his comments, taking exception to his “tone and tenor“.

Mr. Afzal said his party respects the wisdom of the EC, adding that it had appreciated Rahul Gandhi’s intentions. However, taking a dig at Mr. Ramesh’s comments the BJP said it has to be seen whether Rahul Gandhi will apologise to the Muslim community or the former will apologise to his party leader.

BJP spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh said Gandhi had hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community and should have apologised to them by now.

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