The RSS on Friday expressed regret for former chief KS Sudarshan's remarks on Sonia Gandhi, even as Congress workers took to the streets in protest against the derogatory words.
"As the joint general secretary of RSS, I express my heartfelt deep regrets over the alleged statement (of Sudarshan), which had hurt the sentiments, and the subsequent developments that are unfortunate," RSS number two Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi said in a statement.
The remarks seemed to have united Congress workers across the states — including Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir — where they demonstrated against Sudarshan and burnt his effigies. A local leader in Bhopal filed a defamation case.
Various Congress chief ministers joined the chorus of condemnation of Sudarshan for calling Sonia Gandhi a CIA agent and blaming her for the assassinations of Rajiv and Indira Gandhi. "This kind of slanderous statement can be made only by a person who has lost his mental balance. It is frivolous, baseless and a figment of Mr Sudarshan's imagination," said Haryana chief minister BS Hooda.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also demanded an apology from the BJP. "Both the RSS and the BJP are connected with each other and therefore the BJP should also tender an apology for indecent remarks against the Congress president," he said in Nagpur.
BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said his party's views on the issue were the same as that of the RSS.
The RSS has appealed to all to maintain peace and restraint.