The Congress asked Mohan Bhagwat on Monday to tender an apology to the nation for "insulting" the Army, a day after the RSS Sarsanghchalak (chief) reportedly compared the Sangh with the force.
Addressing Sangh workers in Bihar's Muzaffarpur on Sunday, Bhagwat had reportedly said, "Ours is not a military organisation. But we have discipline like the military. If the country needs it and the Constitution permits... it takes six or seven months to prepare an Army... but swayamsevaks, if asked, can do it in three days... this is what we are capable of."
The RSS was quick to defend Bhagwat, saying his comments were "misrepresented." "This was no way a comparison between the Indian Army and the Sangh swayamsevaks but a comparison between general society and swayamsevaks. Both are to be trained by the Indian Army only," said Sangh's campaign chief Manmohan Vaidya.
With #ApologiseRSS #rssinsultsarmy hashtag, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: "The RSS Chief's speech is an insult to every Indian, because it disrespects those who have died for our nation. It is an insult to our flag because it insults every soldier who ever saluted it. Shame on you Mr Bhagwat, for disrespecting our martyrs and our Army."
Congress leader Anand Sharma termed Bhagwat's statement "sad and disturbing... and an insult to the tricolour" and warned that nations which have allowed private militias and military outfits independent of the country's armed forces have paid a heavy price.
While BJP chief Amit Shah refused to comment, claiming he was not aware of Bhagwat's speech, party's national spokesperson Vijay Sonkar Shastri criticised Rahul, who "knows nothing."
Social media trolled rss and Bhagwat for his saffron outfit comparison with Indian Army.