- Rahul Gandhi said RSS chief's speech is "an insult to every Indian"
- Mr Bhagwat said RSS workers can be trained in 3 days to defend borders
- Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said the comments were in "poor taste"
"Shame on you Mr Bhagwat, for disrespecting our martyrs and our Army," Rahul Gandhi tweeted this morning, using the hashtag #ApologiseRSS. He alleged that 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."
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of the Left said in a Facebook post that Mr Bhagwat's comments were in "poor taste, against Constitutional propriety" and he must apologise. He also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should "clarify his government's position over Bhagwat belittling Indian Army."
The RSS is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.
"People are distorting and presenting Mohan ji's statement. All he has said is if the situation arises, then to stand with the military, it will take six months to prepare an army out of citizens. But because swayamsevaks practice discipline, do parades daily, they can be ready in three days," said the RSS' Manmohan Vaidya.
In a statement, Dr Vaidya said it was "a comparison between general society and swayamsevaks. Both are to be trained by the Indian Army only." He attached a video of Mr Bhagwat's speech with the statement.
The BJP hit out at Rahul Gandhi for his criticism. "Rahul Gandhi knows nothing about the RSS. He does not know how to respect anyone. Congress leaders are going through a period of frustration," said the party's national spokesperson Vijay Sonkar Shastri.