The BJP apparently found a surprise ally in their criticism of Congress leader Salman Khurshid's new book on Ayodhya on Thursday. An assessment of Mr Khurshid's views came from Mr Khurshid's party colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad, who termed a controversial portion "factually wrong".
"We may not agree with Hindutva as a political ideology but comparing it with ISIS and Jihadist Islam is factually wrong and exaggeration," Mr Azad commented on the hotly debated passage from Mr Khurshid's ''Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times''.
"Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints were being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years," Mr Khurshid wrote, stirring a hornet's nest.
The BJP accused him of equating the religion with radical Islamic groups, hurting religious sentiments deserving of legal action and demanded that he be sacked from the Congress. They even targeted Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, suggesting that she explain the statement "if she respects Hindus".
In the Congress, Mr Azad was the first to comment on the issue.
Mr Khurshid, in response, told news agency PTI, "Mr Azad has said he disagrees with the ideology of Hindutva... I have explained why we disagree." "After that he (Azad) said this is an exaggeration. Now exaggeration, measurement and assessment and perception that varies from person to person. It may seem exaggerated to him, it does not seem exaggerated to me."
"I don''t want to engage him (Ghulam Nabi Azad) in an argument because I think he must have said it in a casual moment when he had nothing serious thoughtful consideration of it. But if he said it, we respect him for what he says, he is a senior person, but it will not make me change my mind," Mr Khurshid said.
Within the party, the leaders' allegiances have placed them in opposing camps.
While Mr Khurshid is known to be a loyalist of the Gandhis, Mr Azad had last year joined the dissenting camp that has been dubbed the G-23.
The dissenting leaders -- among their ranks party stalwarts like Kapil Sibal, and Shashi Tharoor -- had written the explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi flagging a drift in leadership and demanding sweeping organisational changes.
Salman Khurshid was among the first to hit back, saying "Being excluded from power is not to be casually embraced in public life but if it is the result of principled politics it should be accepted with honour... If we are explicitly or implicitly willing to compromise with our principles to regain power we might as well pack up our bags".