A day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused the RSS of promoting mediocrity, BJP hit back on Saturday, saying its leaders are proud to be associated with the Hindu organisation instead of looking to a family for a certificate of their intelligence.
“The RSS is a nationalist organisation which has produced scholars, intellectuals of integrity and political leaders. I would like to tell Rahul Gandhi humbly that I too am a ‘swayamsevak’ (RSS volunteer) and many ministers, including the Prime Minister, in this government are ‘swayamsevaks’,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
During a visit to the Film and Television Institute of India campus Friday to extend support to the students seeking removal of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman, Rahul had said the RSS and its ideologues are “undermining” the institution’s stature by promoting “mediocrity” and bullying its critics as “anti-national” and “anti-Hindu”.
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Prasad, who addressed reporters at the party headquarters, raked up the “scams during the UPA” government. He also sought to raise Rahul’s reported comments in 2010 that radicalised Hindu groups may be a bigger threat than the local support for Lashkar-e-Toiba.
Prasad was reacting to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s comment that Rajnath Singh was trying to polarise society and divert attention from the government’s failures by raking up the issue of “Hindu terrorism”.
“Congress has not learnt the right lessons. If it had, its flip-flop on terrorism would not have been there,” Prasad said, citing use of terms “saffron terror” and “Hindu terrorism” by former home ministers P Chidambaram and Sushil Kumar Shinde, besides Rahul’s reported assertions.
Prasad quoted a news report to claim that Rahul, in a 2010 conversation with the then US ambassador, had said “there was evidence of some support for Lashkar-e-Toiba among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community”. The report was based on documents released by Wikileaks.
(With PTI inputs)