Congress distances itself from Digvijay statement on Batla House

United News of India

New Delhi, January 13, 2012

A day after the Government refuted the statement by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on the Batla House encounter, the Congress also distanced itself from the stand of its senior leader.

In what could be seen as the Congress disowning the statement by its general secretary, party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "The party supports the stand taken by the Government on the issue."
In a statement on Wednesday, Digvijay Singh said that while he always held the Batla House encounter to be "fake", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram did not agree with him.
Chidambaram yesterday rejected the claim by the Congress general secretary and ruled out reopening the case which resulted in the killing of Indian Mujahideen commander Atif Ameen.
"After looking into the matter, after I took over as home minister, we came to the conclusion that the encounter was a genuine encounter," Chidambaram said at a news conference.
The Congress reaction came as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has attacked the Congress leadership and the Prime Minister for indulging Digvijay Singh's "dirty politics for the sake of votes" over the September 2008 encounter in the capital.
Terming it as a sensitive issue, Alvi criticised the BJP for "politicising" the issue. "This is a sensitive issue and nobody should take political mileage out of it," Alvi said.
Asked about the difference in the views on the issue between the party and its general secretary, Alvi said, "Mr Digvijay Singh is not just a general secretary but also a senior party leader. But there is an inner democracy in the party and nobody can be stopped from
expressing their views."
Opposition has termed Singh's statements on Batla House as designed to help the Congress attract Muslims on whose support the party's prospects for Uttar Pradesh are supposed to be based on.
Singh made his latest intervention on the Batla House encounter at Azamgarh after a group of Muslim youth heckled Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and burnt his effigy.