Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan is the latest politician to tear into Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat for saying his organisation could raise an army within three days, as opposed to the Indian Armed Forces, which would take seven months.
Saying that Bhagwat's comments were in "poor taste, against Constitutional propriety", Pinanrayi Vijayan wrote on Facebook that Bhagwat had tried to belittle the Indian Army.
Bhagwat's statements only "confirms our worst fears about the Sangh – that it has no respect for India’s institutions", his post added.
"His statement exposes the RSS’s hidden agenda to float parallel militias to wreak havoc and crush national unity. The RSS wants to turn India into Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. The parallel army he is talking about is what we have always warned against: Hindu Terror. Running down the army amounts to treason," The Kerala CM wrote.
Speaking in Muzaffarpur on Sunday, Mohan Bhagwat had said:
"Ours is not a military organisation, but we have military discipline. And if the country requires it and the Constitution … then the army would take six to seven months to get ready, our volunteers will take three days. This is our capability.”
Calling it a "treacherous remark", Vijayan demanded that Mohan Bhagwat apologise to the people of the country. He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must clarify the stand of the Central Government in the matter.
"Bhagwat tried to establish that his organisation has more discipline than the Army itself. We would like to know whether the PM approves of his statements," Pinarayi Vijayan wrote.
With the growing chorus of criticism against his remarks, the RSS issued a clarification saying that Bhagwat's statements were misinterpreted.
In a statement, Manmohan Vaidya, the Akhil Bharatiya Prachaar Pramukh of the RSS said that Bhagwat had not drawn a comparison between the Army and the Sangh.
"Bhagwat ji said that if situation arises and the Constitution permits, the Indian Army would take six months to prepare the society, whereas the Sangh swayamsevaks can be trained in 3 days, as Swayamsevaks practise discipline regularly. This was in no way a comparison between the Indian Army and the Sangh swayamsevaks, but it was a comparison between the general society and swayamsevaks. Both are to be trained by the Indian Army only," the statement read.