Washington: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is a completely secular party while dismissing its comparison to the 'right-wing' Bharatiya Janata Party during an interaction with the press here.
"Muslim League is a completely secular party, there is nothing non-secular about the Muslim League," Gandhi said on being asked about Congress's alliance with IUML in Kerala.
He added that the person who posed the question seemed to be unaware of the party.
Gandhi's remarks drew a sharp response from the BJP on Friday as its leaders alleged that the Kerala party is guided by the same mindset which was behind Mohammad Ali Jinnah's All India Muslim League.
"These are the same people who had stayed back after partition. They formed the Muslim League here after partition and became MPs. They advocated for Sharia law, wanted separate seats reserved for Muslims. They are the same people who are part of the same Muslim League. It is Rahul Gandhi and the Congress that sees Hindu terrorism but feels Muslim League is secular," Union minister Anurag Thakur said.
Thakur said it is imperative that the former Congress president speaks favourably of organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood, an extremist organisation banned in several countries, and the Muslim League as he has to contest against from Wayanad, a Muslim-majority seat, after losing from Amethi.
BJP national spokesperson and MP Sudhanshu Trivedi claimed a link between the regional party and Jinnah's outfit, which spearheaded the partition stir among Muslims.
The Congress on Friday hit back at the BJP over its criticism of Rahul Gandhi for calling the Indian Union Muslim League "completely secular", saying the party he referred to was different from the Muslim League, for which the BJP has "more love" and whose leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah was hailed by L K Advani.
The Opposition party also said that it would like to remind the BJP that Hindu Mahasabha president Syama Prasad Mookerjee aligned with Jinnah's Muslim League to form the government in Bengal during the British rule.
(With PTI inputs.)