New Delhi: JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari on Monday compared RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat with MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, drawing flak from ally BJP which demanded that he should be restrained from making these "totally unwarranted" utterances.
Tiwari, who is JD(U) general secretary and spokesperson, said Bhagwat and Owaisi are "two sides of the same coin".
He was replying to a media query about Bhagwat`s reported contention that women are bound by contract with their husbands to look after household.
"It is a primitive mindset. They are reviving the past. The philosophy of his (Bhagwat) organisation is that a lower caste person should be punished for sitting with a upper caste one and molten glass should be poured in his ears if he hears Sanskrit," Tiwari said.
Within hours, BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad deeply regretted the statement.
"We condemn the totally unwarranted, baseless, and undignified comments made by Tiwari against RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. His observations linking Bhagwat to Owaisi is not only reprehensible but highly condemnable," he said.
Lashing out at the JD(U) leader, Prasad maintained that RSS has done commendable work for the uplift of tribals, Dalits and women in various fields. He further said JD(U) should ask Tiwari to exercise restraint.
BJP`s Hindutva face Uma Bharti also criticised Tiwari, saying, "Only somebody who has lost his mind can compare the RSS chief and Owaisi. I pity such people."
RSS leader Indresh Kumar was also miffed at the JD(U) leader`s remark. "Bhagwat is a patriot while Owaisi is a traitor who has justified terrorism and violence. The mental treatment of those who have made these comments is very necessary. They should get cured. I will pray that they get cured," Kumar said.
Prasad said JD(U) should rein in Tiwari.
"Tiwari has earlier also made uncalled comments which JD(U) had to withdraw. I would appeal to JD(U) President Sharad Yadav that it is desirable that Tiwari should maintain restraint," he said.
He pointed out that BJP-JD(U) ties go back more than 16 years.
"We have fought so many elections together and have a government in Bihar. It is high time Tiwari understands the long-term relationship of BJP and JD(U)," Prasad said.
BJP was angered also by the fact that Tiwari had sought to drag Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi into this debate.
Tiwari said, "We would like to ask Narendra Modi also, as he is also an RSS product. We want to know whether Narendra Modi also supports Bhagwat`s thoughts on women, Dalits, people from lower castes and minorities?"
The JD(U) MP maintained that since Modi is being seen as a Prime Ministerial candidate by his party, he should clearly speak on the philosophy which wants to limit women to household chores only.
Incidentally, Sharad Yadav also disapproved of Bhagwat`s controversial statement and said it is "shallow".
"Several statements are being made these days...The statements show their thinking and views. All these are shallow statements," Yadav told reporters here.
But at the same time he made it clear that he was yet to go through Bhagwat`s remarks "properly" and would react to it after going through the written statement.