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The Congress today took objection to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's "unsolicited advice" that it should select its leaders based on calibre and potential and asked if the BJP had chosen Amit Shah as chief for his "integrity and humane values".
Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an explanation on reports that the Universities Grants Commission (UGC) panel had suggested removing the words "Muslim" from Aligarh Muslim University and "Hindu" from Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
"The finance minister gave unsolicited advice to the Indian National Congress... We have never prescribed to the BJP who they have chosen in the past, and also in the present, as their president.
"But my query would be: was Shri Amit Shah chosen by the BJP as party president for his image, intellect, integrity and humane values?" Sharma asked.
Referring to the UGC's reported suggestion on AMU and BHU to ensure their secular nature, he told reporters that both universities had made important contributions.
"If this kind of recommendation is coming in, it shows the thinking of the people associated with the government. Hence, the prime minister should explain to the people of Varanasi, and also apprise Parliament," Sharma said.
The prime minister represents Varanasi constituency in the Lok Sabha.
Ahead of his US visit, Jaitley had yesterday said the Congress party was unlikely to substantially expand unless it "selects its leaders based on calibre and potential" and goes back to its original centrist position.
Jaitley's remarks, via video conference to the Berkeley India Conference, came less than a month after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had addressed students there.
In response to a question, Gandhi had said dynastic politics was a "problem" in India, but maintained that a large number of people in his party did not have a dynastic background.
Coincidently, the Congress is currently conducting its organisational polls and is expected to elect its next president this month.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)