The Congress on October 12 demanded sacking of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and imposition of President's rule in the state, claiming that law and order situation has collapsed there with large-scale attacks on Hindi-speaking migrants.
The Congress also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak up on the violence in the BJP-ruled state and apologise taking moral responsibility for what it called acts of the saffron party leaders.
At a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs and leaders were part of a preconceived conspiracy to fuel attacks against people from Hindi-belt states living in Gujarat in the aftermath of the alleged rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district on September 28 by a labourer from Bihar.
The Congress leader alleged it was under a "BJP conspiracy" that north Indians were attacked, saying no "true Gujarati" would approve of such incidents.
After the rape incident came to light, at least six districts in Gujarat have seen incidents of large-scale violence against Hindi-speaking migrant workers, forcing an exodus of thousands of migrants, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
Gohil said it was a policy of the ruling party to "divide and rule" and then blame the Congress party. He also named some BJP MLAs for allegedly fanning violence against Hindi-speaking non-Gujaratis in the state.
"Chief Minister Vijay Rupani should be sacked immediately by the BJP leadership for his Constitutional failures. Prime Minister Modi should speak up and apologise to the people of India and especially Gujarat, taking moral responsibility of BJP's acts," Gohil told reporters here.
Stating that the prime minister was a a Gujarati who won election from Varanasi in UP, the Congress leader said the states like UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have contributed immensely in his electoral triumph and he should immediately sack Vijay Rupani.
Pointing out that there was a massive exodus of Hindi-speaking non-Gujaratis from the state and 165 FIRs were filed in connection with related incidents, he said, "It means law and order has collapsed and President's Rule should be imposed."
Gohil also defended Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor, who is facing the heat over the violence against Hindi-speaking migrants in Gujarat, saying he was making efforts to maintain harmony and peace and stop such attacks.
However, Gohil condemned Thakor's initial statement where he had allegedly asked his supporters to go after north Indians to avenge the rape.
"I condemn it. One can have angst, but no one has the right to take the law and order unto his own hands. Congress president himself talked to Alpesh Thakor after which his actions were aimed at forging unity and maintaining harmony," Gohil said.
He said Thakor's initiatives for ensuring amity between people came after Congress president Rahul Gandhi spoke to him over the issue.
Sources said Gandhi "warned and reprimanded" Thakor for his inflammatory statement, after which the Congress MLA toned down his language.
Gohil said the Congress party's stand was very clear that no one had the right to take law in their hands and there should be harmony between the people of different communities and regions.
He also demanded action against BJP MLAs for fuelling anger against people from Hindi-belt states in Gujarat. Gohil said the BJP leaders who have "deliberately planned this conspiracy and whisper campaign should be immediately brought to book".
The Congress leader said the Gujarat government should make immediate arrangements to facilitate the return of whoever has been forced to leave the state and they should also be compensated for their losses.
He said Gujarat is a land which has given birth to sons like Mahatma and Sardar Patel who helped the country to unite and integrate the princely states, but "it is unfortunate to see that the present lot of BJP leadership has got down what they know best, and that's politics of divisiveness and sectarianism".