The Congress on Thursday urged its leaders to choose their words responsibly in their criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party a day after party MP Shashi Tharoor claimed India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the ruling party won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. India’s democracy will never allow it to become like Pakistan, the Congress added.

“India’s values [and] fundamentals are an unequivocal guarantee of our civilisational role [and] set us apart from the divisive idea of Pakistan,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala wrote on Twitter. “All Congress leaders must realise this historic responsibility bestowed upon us while choosing words [and] phraseology to reject BJP’s hatred.”

Party leader Jaiveer Shergill said that India was far ahead of Pakistan and would not become like it, whichever government is in power, ANI reported. “Congress workers shouldn’t be provoked by BJP’s polarising, hate and dividing statements,” he said. “That is basic difference between us and them.”

Shergill also told Times Now that as a Congress spokesperson, he was asking his party’s leaders to exercise caution. “Has BJP ever condemned the objectionable statements their leaders make every day?” he asked.

Speaking in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, Tharoor had said: “If the BJP wins the 2019 Lok Sabha election, our democratic Constitution, as we understand it, will not survive as they will have all the elements they need to tear apart the Constitution of India and write a new one. That new one will be the one which will enshrine principles of Hindu Rashtra, that will remove equality for minorities, that will create a Hindu Pakistan...”

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had condemned Tharoor’s comments, and demanded that Congress President Rahul Gandhi apologise on his behalf.