Congress leaders oppose Chidambaram’s Rushdie remark

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Two senior Congress leaders on Monday came out against P Chidambaram’s statement on Rushdie book ban calling his views ‘personal’. Speaking at Times LitFest on Saturday, P Chidambaram had said, “The Rajiv Gandhi government’s decision to ban Salman Rushdie’s book Satanic Verses in October 1988 was wrong.” On Monday, senior leader Kamal Nath dissociated the party from the former Union minister’s remark and said, “that is Chidambaram’s own views”. When questioned if Chidambaram’s admission had blunted Congress’s attack on intolerance debate, he said, “There is no question of a single person puncturing party’s stand.” “Congress’s stand is clear, today what country is confronted with is assault on harmony,” the senior leader said.

Another senior party leader Rajeev Shukla also disagreed with Chidambaram’s views. “I think Rajiv Gandhi had taken a right decision of banning the book depending on the law and order situation then,” Rajeev Shukla said. “Chidambaram had expressed his own views, but I disagree with his statement,” he said, adding, “BJP has no business to talk about Congress as far as tolerance is concerned.”

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