A Congress post featuring a burning pair of Khaki shorts in an apparent jab at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP, has triggered a new clash on Twitter in the backdrop of Rahul Gandhi's nationwide "Bharat Jodo" march.
Using the hashtag #BharatJodoYatra, the Congress wrote in its tweet this morning: "To free the country from shackles of hate and undo the damage done by BJP-RSS. Step-by-step, we will reach our goal."
The image of the burning Khaki shorts was captioned: "145 days more to go."
The tweet did not name the RSS though it clearly pointed at the organisation's trademark khaki shorts.
"They want to connect people to hatred. They've harboured a hatred for us for a long time now. Their father and grandfather tried to stop the RSS but the RSS did not stop and kept growing as we continued to get support from people," said M Vaidya, an RSS leader.
As the BJP demanded that the tweet be taken down, party MP Tejasvi Surya said the tweet was typical of the Congress "ecosystem of violence".
"This picture is symbolic of Congress politics - of lighting fires in the country. Fires they lit in the past has burnt them in most of India. The remaining embers in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will also be reduced to ashes very soon," Mr Surya tweeted.
Congress fire burnt Delhi in 1984.— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) September 12, 2022
It's ecosystem burnt alive 59 karsevaks in Godhra in 2002.
They have again given their ecosystem a call for violence.
With Rahul Gandhi ‘fighting against Indian State', Congress ceases to be political party with faith in constitutional means. https://t.co/28qbFvKkbI
"Congress fire burnt Delhi in 1984. Its ecosystem burnt alive 59 karsevaks in Godhra in 2002. They have again given their ecosystem a call for violence.
With Rahul Gandhi 'fighting against Indian State', Congress ceases to be political party with faith in constitutional means."
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra accused the Congress of trying to incite violence.
"This tweet is nothing but instigating people for violence, done on the Gandhi family's bidding," Mr Patra said.
The Congress defended its tweet and said the BJP and RSS were "not used to" the Congress being aggressive.
"Those who stoke fires of hatred, those who stoke the fire of bigotry and prejudice, must be prepared to take some things back in same coin," said senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
"If I were to enumerate the manner in which the BJP and its surrogates have fanned hatred, prejudice, lies and falsehood...The RSS and the BJP are not used to an aggressive response from the Congress. When the Congress gets aggressive, they back off," Mr Ramesh said.
Rahul Gandhi launched his nationwide, 150 km "Bharat Jodo Yatra" or footmarch last week. The Congress leader has said his campaign is aimed at uniting a nation divided by the ideology of hate.