Rahul’s remarks leave BJP, RSS fuming (Roundup)

October 6th, 2010 - 10:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Rahul Gandhi Bhopal/New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s comparison of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) with the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) Wednesday prompted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to say that only people who have lost their mental balance can make such remarks.

The RSS, too, hit back at Gandhi while the Congress defended its leader’s comment.

Speaking in Bhopal, Gandhi Wednesday termed the RSS as “fanatical” and equated it with the SIMI. He said both the SIMI and the RSS held fundamentalist views.

“I know only that both the SIMI and the RSS are fanatical and hold fundamentalist views,” Gandhi said.

His remarks came a few days after the Allahabad High Court’s Ayodhya verdict which has set off speculation that the Sangh Parivar may revive the Ram temple movement.

The Congress leader said that it did not matter much to him whether the RSS was a banned outfit or not. He was responding to questions on how he could compare the Sangh Parivar organisation with a banned outfit.

In New Delhi, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar attacked Gandhi for comparing the RSS with the banned SIMI.

“This shows affected mentality. Only people who have lost their mental balance can make such a comparison,” Javadekar said.

“The SIMI is a banned terrorist organisation. The RSS is a school of nationalism which has been working for the past 85 years. He (Gandhi) is making statements only for political benefit,” Javadekar said.

He added that Gandhi’s comments reflected “immaturity and lack of knowledge”.

Reacting to Gandhi’s remarks, RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said that people who make such utterances have to first understand India and the Indian society well. “It’s not enough to know only Italy and Colombia,” he said.

Asking Gandhi to brush up his knowledge before making “meaningless statements”, Madhav said the Congress general secretary should know the difference between the RSS and banned outfits.

He should know the history of Congress “which has been accused of fundamentalism in the last six decades”, said Madhav.

In Bhubaneswar, the Bajarang Dal’s national chief Subhash Chauhan said: “I never expected Rahul Gandhi to turn so senile early in life so as to forget the difference between patriots and anti-nationals.”

The Congress, in turn, defended Gandhi’s remarks, saying the RSS had no answer to his criticism.

“What Rahul Gandhi has said is correct. The RSS has no answer to what Gandhi has said. The Congress does not have to learn history and culture from the RSS. They are known masters in spreading rumour,” All India Congress Committee general secretary Digvijay Singh said.

Referring to the RSS reaction to Gandhi’s remarks, Singh said that the RSS spokesman should read history.

He said RSS supported the British during the freedom struggle while a senior BJP leader had called founder of Pakistan M.A. Jinnah secular.

He said the Congress has been fighting fundamentalist ideology whether it concerned Hindus or Muslims.

The Congress leader said a number of people belonging to the Sangh Parivar organisations have been found to be involved in terror incidents. “It is time the RSS introspected on what people associated with it are doing,” he said.

Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said that Gandhi made a political comment and reply to any such comment should be civilised.

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