New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Friday clarified that the remarks against Congress president Sonia Gandhi by its former chief K.S. Sudarshan were not the official view of the organisation and expressed regret over the “unfortunate episode”. However, the Congress sought an apology even as party supporters staged angry protests in many parts of the country.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it had already expressed disapproval of Sudarshan’s remarks and accused the Congress of trying to deflect attention from the issue of corruption.
The RSS sarkaryavah (general secretary) Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi said in a statement that the remarks made by Sudarshan about Gandhi were not the official view of the organisation.
“We have already clarified that remarks made by honourable Sudarshan-ji in context of Mrs Sonia Gandhi is not the official view of the RSS. As sarkaryavah of RSS, I express regret from my heart over the entire unfortunate episode which has hurt the feelings of people, and, I call upon countrymen to keep restraint and maintain peace at this hour,” Joshi said in the statement.
However, the Congress demanded that the RSS should condemn Sudarshan’s remarks and seek an apology.
Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said that RSS leaders, while distancing themselves from Sudarshan’s remarks on Thursday had mentioned the name of their former chief with honorifics.
“He (Sudarshan) made the remarks at a function organised by the RSS. Hence the RSS is also responsible. It should first condemn the remarks and then seek an apology,” Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told IANS.
The BJP said it had already expressed its disapproval and the RSS had also expressed regret.
“This is a drama of the Congress to divert attention from the issues of corruption,” BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.
He said the Sangh had shown its liberalism by expressing regret over the episode and wondered if Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will express regret over his remarks comparing RSS with the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and whether Congress spokesman Manish Tewari will do likewise for making “false allegations” against BJP chief Nitin Gadkari in relation to the Adarsh Society scam.
The BJP also took exception to Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi’s remarks that RSS will be responsible if Congressmen get provoked over Sudarshan’s remarks.
Sudarshan’s remarks triggered protests by Congress activists in several parts of the country including Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Orissa.
Sudarshan had made the derogatory remarks in Bhopal Wednesday while talking to mediapersons at the end of a RSS protest.