The Opposition on Monday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clarify his stand on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's reported remarks on the Army.
The parties charged Bhagwat with "insulting" the armed forces and the country by claiming that in the eventuality of a battle to be fought, the RSS could mobilise itself in three days while the Indian Army would take six to seven months to do so.
Leading the charge, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that Bhagwat's remark insulted the Indian tricolour.
"The RSS Chief's speech is an insult to every Indian, because it disrespects those who have died for our nation. It is an insult to our flag because it insults every soldier who ever saluted it. Shame on you Bhagwat, for disrespecting our martyrs and our Army. #ApologiseRSS," he tweeted.
The Congress attacked the RSS chief even as the Sangh clarified in a statement that Bhagwat had said, "If situation arises and the Constitution permits, Indian Army would take six months to prepare society whereas Sangh swayamsevaks can be trained in three days, as swayamsevaks practise discipline regularly".
Congress's senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said the RSS chief's statement insulted the Indian armed forces. "The RSS chief should apologise to the country and the armed forces, as he has put a question mark on the capability and bravery of the Indian Army. Such statements and thoughts weaken the morale of our armed forces," he said. Sharma called for a clarification from Modi over this.
"The prime minister of India will have to clarify his position on this, on whether he is thinking of allowing the work of national security to be handed over to the RSS rather than the Indian Army," he said.
The Congress also organised protests across the country opposing Bhagwat's statement. Kerala Chief Minister and CPI-M leader Pinarai Vijayan slammed Bhagwat, alleging that the RSS wanted to "turn India into Mussolinis Italy and Hitlers Germany".
"Statement confirms our worst fears about the Sangh that it has no respect for Indias institutions. His statement exposes RSSs hidden agenda to float parallel militias to wreak havoc, crush national unity," Vijayan said on Facebook.
The Marxist leader said Modi should explain his government's stand on "Bhagwat belittling the Indian Army".
Vijayan reminded the RSS chief that running down the Army amounted to treason and Bhagwat should apologise to the people for his "treacherous" remark.
The Trinamool Congress attacked Bhagwat as well as Union Minister Kiren Rijiju for defending the RSS chief, alleging that it had become "even more evident" that the government was being "remote-controlled" by the Sangh.
"A minister of the government is supporting and defending the RSS. Kiren Rijiju is not a minister of state but a minister of Sangh," TMC leader Derek O'Brien said.