Bhopal/New Delhi: In unusually strident
remarks, Rahul Gandhi today equated RSS with banned terror
outfit SIMI, saying both preached "hardline fundamentalist
ideologies", evoking sharp reactions from the RSS and the BJP.
"Both these organisations have hardline fundamentalist
ideologies," he said at a press conference here.
When pointed out that the radical Students Islamic
Movement of India (SIMI) was a proscribed outfit, which was
not the case with RSS, the Nagpur-headquartered right-wing
group, Rahul said that this did not matter much for him.
"...both these organisations preach fundamentalist
ideologies. That`s a fact and nothing is going to change that
fact," he said.
Gandhi, who is on a tour of BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh,
went on to drive home his point saying there can be no place
in the Youth Congress for people with hardline fundamentalist
Incensed over being equated with SIMI, RSS hit out at
Rahul saying he needs to learn more about the country before
making such "meaningless" statements.
"He should brush up his knowledge before making
meaningless statements. He should know the difference between
RSS and banned outfits and know the history of Congress party,
which has been accused of fundamentalism in the last six
decades," RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said.
In a strong reaction, BJP said the young Congress
leader seems to have lost his mental balance and shown his
political immaturity by his comments.
"Only a sick mind can do it (compare RSS to SIMI). He
seems to have lost his mental balance. RSS is an institution
of nationalist thought while SIMI has been banned by their
(Congress) government as it was banned by us when we were in
power," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
Coming to Rahul`s defence, AICC general secretary
Digvijay Singh said, "it is time for RSS to do some
introspection. Can they deny that Deven Gupta, involved in the
Ajmer Sharif blast, is not from the RSS?"