Rahul Gandhi's comments on Hinduism and his questioning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's understanding of Hinduism on Saturday provoked sharp criticism from the BJP with the party calling him "confused" and top BJP leaders stepping up their attack.
"The knowledge of the Janeudhari (sacred thread-wearing) Brahmin has increased so much that now we have to learn from him what it means to be a Hindu. I pray to God that the day never comes when we have learn from Rahul Gandhi what it means to be a Hindu," Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Jaipur.
At an election rally in Rajasthan on Saturday, the Congress president said PM Modi does not understand the foundation of Hinduism. "What is the essence of Hinduism? What does the Gita say? That knowledge is with everybody... Knowledge is all around you. Every living being has knowledge. Our prime minister says he is a Hindu, but he doesn't understand (the) foundation of Hinduism. What kind of a Hindu is he?" Mr Gandhi said in Udaipur.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Mr Gandhi is a Hindu "by political consideration". "The problem of Rahul Gandhi is that he is a confused Gandhi and he keeps on changing his Hindu appearances for political purposes not by way of commitment. In Gujarat, he becomes Shiv Bhakt Gandhi. He goes to Rajasthan. There is becomes Kaul Brahmin Gandhi... He is not a Hindu by commitment. He is a Hindu by political consideration," Mr Prasad said.
A huge political row broke out after details of Rahul Gandhi's gotra were "revealed" by a priest in Rajasthan earlier this week. He is a "Dattatreya" and a Kashmiri Brahmin, said a priest in a temple by the famous lake Pushkar. The BJP had also targeted Mr Gandhi over his party's pronouncement that he is a "Janeudhari (sacred thread-wearing) Brahmin".
BJP chief Amit Shah too hit back at Mr Gandhi. Both of them were campaigning in Rajasthan that votes on December 7. "The Congress is now preaching us about Hinduism... They are giving us lessons of Gita," Mr Shah said at a rally in Barmer.
Mr Shah said Mr Gandhi was insulting soldiers killed by claiming that the 2016 surgical strike across the Line of Control (LoC) was conducted to win the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
(With inputs from ANI)