Sun, Oct 23, 2016 | updated 06:51 AM IST

Rahul Gandhi will stand by his comment on RSS: Congress

Updated: Sep 01, 2016 17:11 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 1 (ANI): Asserting that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's fight is an ideological one, the grand old party on Thursday said the former has always stood by his comment on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and will continue to do so.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the fight is against the destructive forces, who want to polarize India based on their own vision of religion which is neither correct nor appropriate.

"Rahul Gandhi has always stood by his comment on RSS, be it in the past or be it today, and he will in the future. This is an ideological fight that the Congress Party, people of this country has fought for decades together that Rahul Gandhi continues to champion," he told the media here.

Surjewala said the Congress' ideology has strengthened by this "bold and courageous" decision of Gandhi.

"To those who seek to divide this country based on caste, religion or region, we will like to remind them that when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, by Nathuram Godse, the government of India and the home ministry then headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel proceeded to ban the RSS," he added.

Gandhi earlier today withdrew his appeal from the Supreme Court for quashing of the defamation case against him by the RSS over his remarks that the Nagpur-based outfit was responsible for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.

Meanwhile, the top court refused to grant the Congress vice-president exemption from personal appearance before the lower court in the defamation case.

The RSS, the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), filed a defamation case against Gandhi for his speech at a rally in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, in 2014.

The Congress vice-president had alleged that RSS members had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948. He was reported as saying, "RSS people killed Gandhi ji. They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhi ji."

The Congress leader moved the Supreme Court in May 2015 seeking a stay on the Bombay High Court order dismissing his plea for quashing the defamation case.

On July 19, the apex court told the Congress vice-president to express regret for his comments holding the RSS responsible for Gandhi's assassination or be ready to face a defamation trial.

On July 19, the apex court remarked against Gandhi for indulging in 'collective denunciation' against an organisation and said it's wrong.

It said the Rahul Gandhi might have to face the trial to prove his defence that his statement was an assertion of a historical fact.

Gandhi's counsel Kapil Sibal told the court that he was within his right to free speech. They have maintained that the complaint is motivated and malafide and should be quashed. (ANI)