The Congress on Friday said the remarks made by party leader and former governor Shivraj Patil on the Bhagavad Gita were unacceptable and asserted the scripture was a key foundational pillar of Indian civilisation.
Patil has claimed the concept of jihad was not just in Islam but also in the Bhagavad Gita and in Christianity.
The BJP hit out at the Congress over Patil's remarks and accused it of playing vote bank politics.
"My senior colleague Shivraj Patil reportedly made some comments on Bhagavad Gita that's unacceptable. Subsequently, he clarified. The Congress's stand is clear. Bhagavad Gita is a key foundational pillar of Indian civilisation," Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Twitter.
He also shared excerpts from Jawaharlal Nehru's book The Discovery of India, wherein the former prime minister wrote: "The message of the Gita is not sectarian or addressed to any particular school of thought. It is universal in its approach for everyone, Brahmin or outcaste. 'All paths lead to me,' it says. It is because of this universality that it has found favour with all classes and schools."
"During the 2,500 years since it was written, Indian humanity has gone repeatedly through the processes of change and development and decay; experience has succeeded experience, thought has followed thought, but it has always found something living in the Gita, something that fitted into the developing thought and had a freshness and applicability to the spiritual problems that afflict the mind," Nehru also said in his book.
Speaking at the launch of Congress veteran and former Union minister Mohsina Kidwai's biography, the former Lok Sabha Speaker and Union minister Patil stated that it is said there is a lot of discussion of jihad in the religion of Islam.
The concept comes to the fore when despite having the right intentions and doing the right thing, nobody understands or reciprocates, then it is said one can use force, he said.
"It is not just in Quran, but in Mahabharata also, the part in Gita, Shri Krishna also talks of jihad to Arjun and this thing is not just in Quran or Gita but also in Christianity," he claimed in his remarks in Hindi.
"If after explaining everything, people are not understanding, they are coming with weapons then you cannot run, you cannot call that jihad and you cannot call it wrong, this is what must be understood, there should not be this concept of making people understand with weapons in hand," the 87-year-old leader said.