"Of course, she did. You can read that statement," AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said, clearly distancing the party from senior leader Sibal's statement on Friday that Gandhi did not refer to Modi when she said `merchants of death'.
"What Mrs Gandhi said is crystal clear. In view of Narendra Modi's acts, omissions and utterances over several years, Mrs Gandhi's statement is not only apposite but also mild. We stand by that description," he said.
"There is no question about being apologetic," Singhvi said.
Asked whether Gandhi would give a suo-motu clarification to the Election Commission (EC) over her speech, Singhvi said, "she needs to clarify nothing. Everything is on camera."
To BJP leader L K Advani's statement that the EC should also issue notice to the Congress chief and adopt the same yardstick for both her and Modi, he said, "No right thinking person can or will equate the statement of the Congress president with Modi. This is a deliberate mischief and a desperate attempt by BJP to try to justify the unjustifiable."
Congress sources said Sibal's statement had sent a message that the party was afraid to take on Modi on the issue of the post-Godhra riots and the clarification on Saturday was meant to dispel any such impression.