The RSS is trying to change the nature of India, Rahul Gandhi told an audience at the London-based think-tank.
A day after saying that lack of adequate job opportunities was forcing youths to take up arms, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday made yet another provocative statement, comparing the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) to the Islamist group Muslim Brotherhood.
The Congress chief, who is in the United Kingdom as part of his party’s international outreach programme, alleged that the RSS and its affiliates are trying to “change” the nature of India and “capture” its institutions.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest political Islamist outfit in the Arab world. It is not allowed to operate as an official political party in some Arab countries. The Muslim Brotherhood – a Sunni Islamist outfit founded in Egypt – is also considered to be a terror outfit by Russia and six west Asian nations.
Addressing a gathering at the International Institute of Strategic Studies here, the Gandhi scion accused the RSS of ”trying to change the nature of India and capture India’s institutions.”
“The RSS is trying to change the nature of India. Other parties haven’t tried to capture India’s institutions. The RSS’ idea is similar to the idea of The Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world,” Rahul told the audience at the London-based think-tank.
The Congress chief also made a barrage of attacks on the Narendra Modi government over its decision to demonetise the old currency notes of high denomination in 2016 and the Goods and Services Tax Act, which was hailed as the biggest tax reforms since Independence.
“The idea of demonetisation came directly from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), bypassed the Finance Minister and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and was planted in Prime Minister’s head,” the Congress president alleged.
PM Modi had claimed that the demonetisation would help curtail the shadow economy and crackdown on the use of illicit and counterfeit cash to fund illegal activity and terrorism.
Rahul Gandhi said India’s economic power lies in millions of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as they create jobs.
“When one bypasses the entire institutional structure and decides to demonetise the nation, that is not maximising India’s power,” he said.
However, Rahul Gandhi likening the RSS with Muslim Brotherhood did not go down well with the ruling BJP, which slammed the Congress chief for denigrating the democracy and demanded an apology from the party.
Addressing a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that Rahul Gandhi’s comparison of the RSS to ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ is completely unacceptable.
Patra said that by making such remarks, Rahul Gandhi is demeaning the country’s democracy and showing the democratically elected government in a bad light abroad.
Patra said likes of President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who died last week, have a Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) background and Gandhi’s comparison of the organisation with an Islamist outfit at an event in London is “unforgivable”.
Addressing the media, Patra demanded immediate apology from the Congress president for likening the choice of Indians in an election with an organisation which, the BJP leader added, is declared a terror outfit in many countries.
He asked if Gandhi has taken a ‘supari’ (contract for killing) for India. “Stop this job of acting as a contract killer of the idea called India,” he said.
In a separate press conference, senior BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi described Rahul Gandhi as an “incapable opposition leader” and accused him of justifying the terrorist outfit ISIS.
“Congress president is on foreign tours. Earlier, he used to go abroad after the Parliament session and say that he had gone for ‘dhyan’ and to ‘gain knowledge’`Trivedi said.
“And now, on the recent tours, he has been sharing his knowledge with the people. This shows his immaturity, incapability and ill will. It shows clearly that he is not capable of being a good opposition leader, leave aside holding the post of Prime Minister,” Trivedi said.
The BJP leader also slammed Rahul for justifying Islamic State (IS) and making comparisons with India.
Trivedi was reacting to Congress chief’s criticism of the government by citing the example of IS to say that exclusion of a large number of people from the development process could lead to the creation of terrorist groups in the world.
While in Germany, Rahul Gandhi had said that the US, while invading Iraq had stopped a tribe, Tikriti network, from getting government and army jobs and later the tribe linked up with other groups.
He referred to the recent incidents of lynching and attack on the Dalits, saying people in India were angry and the ruling alliance was weakening “support structures” meant for the weaker sections.
“Yesterday, he said that the IS was founded because of unemployment. I want to ask him that Osama bin Laden, who was one of the most wanted terrorists…was he an unemployed youth and a poor?” he said.
“No, he was a billionaire. And the persons who hit the World Trade Center with the airplane were also poor or unemployed? No, they were leading a good life in the US and having all the means to lead a good life,” he said.
“You tried to belittle the fight of ideologies for your petty political gains. It is condemnable,” said Trivedi slamming the Congress leader.
This is not the first time that Rahul Gandhi had attacked RSS. He had in past blamed the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and faces a defamation case for it as well.