The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtraiya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) on Tuesday hit out at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi after the Supreme Court said he will have to express regret or face trial in a defamation case for his remark on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
“The Congress has been consistently trying to spread lies and baseless allegations against the RSS. Today’s Supreme Court proceedings have exposed the Congress,” RSS publicity head Manmohan Vaidya said.
The BJP said the court proceedings were a “slap on the Congress face”.
Rahul Gandhi had moved the Supreme Court for quashing of proceedings against him after RSS activist Rajesh Kunte filed a defamation case in a Maharashtra court over Rahul’s accusation that the RSS had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.
“In 1965, [Former Prime Minister] Indira [Gandhi] had constituted the Kapur Commission. It examined the matter and submitted the report in 1979 where in the RSS was not associated with the murder of (Mahatma) Gandhi,” RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha said.
Sinha added that it would be cheap politics on the part of the Congress top brass if they believe in such allegations.
“There has been a trend in the Congress to insult nationalist forces and glorify terrorists. This is the reason they are disappearing from the political map of the country,” BJP national secretary Srikant Sharma told IANS. “If Rahul Gandhi has a little bit shame left in him, he should apologise for his remark.”
The Congress, however, said on Tuesday that Rahul Gandhi will not apologise for his remark against the RSS. “If it comes to trial then we are ready to give evidence to the court, as history cannot be changed, cannot be rewritten, and cannot be denied just because it does not suit the current government,” Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi told IANS over the phone.
The opposition party claims it can prove in court the connection between Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, and the RSS. Godse was tried and convicted for the assassination on January 30, 1948, and executed on November 15, 1949.
Chaturvedi said “history has witnessed Godse’s connection with the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha”.
According to party sources, Rahul Gandhi is ready to face trial instead of apologising for the remarks in question that he reportedly made while campaigning in Maharashtra for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“Rahul Gandhi will present all historical evidence in support of his case in a court of law. He will not apologise,” Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi told the media at Parliament House complex.
The Supreme Court has adjourned the matter till July 27, when Rahul Gandhi has been asked to detail his arguments in the case.
With inputs from agencies