New Delhi, May 27: Hours after his remarks on COVID-19 spike in Maharashtra created political flutters, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi issued a clarification. While responding to the row through his social media handle, the Gandhi scion levelled "paid media" jibe against a section of the press. He accused them of spinning his statement to divert attention and benefiting their "masters". 'Uddhav Thackeray Can't be Blamed': NCP After Rahul Gandhi's Comment on Maharashtra's COVID-19 Spike.

Gandhi re-shared the portion of video where he criticised the central government for allegedly not aiding Maharashtra with the proportion it deserves. In the clip, he could also be heard saying that the high concentration of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra is due to the "nature of its connectivity".

"Watch this video to see how paid media distorts the truth to serve their masters and distract attention from REAL issues (sic)," Gandhi said as shared a 81-second clip from the virtual press conference he held earlier in the day.

See Rahul Gandhi's Tweet

In the presser earlier today, Gandhi had also added that the Maharashtra government is not led by the Congress party but only supported by it. On the other hand, the party is key decision-maker in Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Puducherry, he pointed out.

Gandhi's remarks fueled speculations of a rift in the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance - comprising of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress - which is ruling Maharashtra since November 29, 2019. The contentious comments came in the backdrop of NCP chief Sharad Pawar's meeting with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

"I would like to make a differentiation here. We are supporting the government in Maharashtra, but we are not the key decision maker in Maharashtra. We are decision-makers in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Puducherry. There is a difference between running the government and supporting it," Gandhi said.

The NCP and Sena have, however, clarified that the meeting was a courtesy call and the alliance is not undergoing any strain. Senior NCP leader and Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule said her party would not desert the Sena as they have committed to the people of Maharashtra to provide a stable government for the next five years.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 27, 2020 12:19 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website