Union minister Amit Shah today tossed back the "hate speech" allegation at the Congress, saying it was not only his party and its leaders who had indulged in it. In his response to the discussion in parliament on last month's Delhi violence, Mr Shah pointed to a speech of Sonia Gandhi to counter Congress allegations that hate speech by a section of BJP leaders has been a key factor in the violence, in which more than 50 people died.
Without naming Sonia Gandhi, Mr Shah said, "You guys keep saying 'hate speech'. At Ramlila Maidan, another speech went like this: 'Come out of your house, this is a fight to the finish. Don't you consider this hate speech?"
"Some people told me that I had not made any appeal for peace when the violence was going on. I did. But even if I had not, I did not say something like 'When a large tree falls, the ground shakes'," Mr Shah said, citing the notorious words of Rajiv Gandhi rationalising the 1984 anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of his mother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The BJP had earlier accused the Congress of hate speech as well. Earlier today, party leader Meenakshi Lekhi had referred to Sonia Gandhi's phrase 'aar paar ki larai' (a fight to the finish), used at a rally in Ramlila Maidan.
The Congress fumed as a Public Interest Litigation was filed against Sonia Gandhi for the words, said at a rally against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act.
The party claimed the petition was politically motivated and that the petitioner was a former advocate-general of the Madhya Pradesh government under Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The Congress has repeatedly alleged that the hate speech by BJP leaders like Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma had a key role in the mayhem.