Congress today distanced itself from former Finance Minister P Chidambaram's statement that the banning of Salman Rushdie's controversial novel The Satanic Verses by the Rajiv Gandhi government was wrong.
Describing Chidambaram's remark as his personal view, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said, "No question of a single person puncturing party's stand. Congress' stand is clear. Today what the country is confronted with is an assault on harmony," he said.
"That is Chidambaram's own view," the former Parliamentary Affairs Minister said while replying to a query.
Chidambaram had on Saturday said the decision of the Rajiv Gandhi government to ban Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses was wrong.
"I have no hesitation in saying that the ban on Salman Rushdie's book was wrong," Chidambaram had said at the Times LitFest here.
At the Congress briefing in the evening, party spokesman P L Punia spoke in similar vein.
Punia said that the book was not banned, but its import was banned.
He said that Penguin, the publisher of the book, had decided not to print the book in India after consultations with Khushwant Singh.
"This is the factual, opposition position" and therefore there was no need to cast aspersions on the then government, he said.