LONDON/NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi today likened the RSS to the radical Islamist outfit Muslim Brotherhood, drawing a stinging condemnation from the BJP which accused him of acting as a "contract killer" of the idea called India and demanded an apology.
Stepping up his attack on the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) on foreign soil, Gandhi also alleged that the ideological mentor of the BJP is trying to "change" the nature of India and "capture" its institutions.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest political Islamist group in the Arab world.
It is banned and declared as a terrorist organisation by the governments of several countries.
"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 Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world," Gandhi said at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, a London-based think-tank.
Gandhi targeted the RSS for the second straight day during his overseas tour of Germany and the United Kingdom.
Gandhi yesterday said that while his party binds the people of India, the BJP-RSS divides them and spreads hatred, He also alleged that women have no place in the RSS where they are treated as "second-class citizens".
He made these remarks while addressing the Indian diaspora at a function organised by the Indian Overseas Congress in Berlin.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the likes of President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who died last week, have a RSS background and Gandhi's comparison of the organisation with an Islamist outfit is "unforgivable".
Addressing a news conference in Delhi, 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.
Instead of being a proud Indian leader on foreign countries, the Congress president has been attempting to insult and belittle India abroad, he alleged.
"India is asking you is some terrorist organisation ruling India? It is a democratically elected government.
Is this government, is this choice of people of India for a terror organisation," he asked.
Patra said Gandhi has no maturity and understanding whatsoever of India and has no leadership quality.
The only quality he has, the BJP leader said, is hatred towards Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS and his irresponsible and immature remarks were an outcome of this.
The "frustration" shown by the Congress leader ahead of next year's Lok Sabha polls is similar to his party's desperation in 2013 ahead of the general elections in 2014 when it had allegedly accused the RSS of running terror camps and coined the term "Hindu terrorism", Patra said.
"Why you have such hatred for democracy...Why you hate Hindus?" he asked.
What Gandhi has said will be headlines in Pakistan's media tomorrow, he claimed, and alleged that the Congress president had an sense of entitlement and could not tolerate Modi as prime minister as he came from a poor background and a backward community.