Trading bitter charges over the escalating JNU row, BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday alleged that Rahul Gandhi was supporting "anti-nationals" and wanted another "division" of India while the Congress vice president said the BJP was following an agenda of creating "divide and hatred".
As the exchanges between the BJP and Congress grew shrill, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury targeted the BJP, saying there can be no "bigger farce than Godse-worshippers" putting out certificates on nationalism, in a sharp counter to Left parties being labelled as "anti-national" forces.
Yechury's predecessor Prakash Karat accused the NDA government's "top" machinery of "directing crisis" at JNU and charged the Narendra Modi dispensation with imposing ideological hegemony on varsities in the country.
Speaking on the raging JNU controversy for the first time, Shah asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul a host of questions and demanded that he apologise for his stand on the JNU issue, saying support to anti-national forces in the name of the Left's progressive ideology is not acceptable.
"An attempt was made to defame a leading university in the national capital by turning it into a centre which encourages terrorism and separatism. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi if it would be in national interest had the central government kept quiet?
"Are you not encouraging traitors by protesting in support of these anti-nationals?", Shah wrote in a blog.
Noting that slogans like 'Pakistan zindabad', 'go India go back' and those in support of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Kashmir's independence and India's destruction were raised in JNU, the BJP President wondered if the Congress leader had joined hands with separatists.
"Does he want another division of India by giving a free run to separatists in the name of freedom of expression? The kind of statements the Congress vice president and other leaders of his party have made in JNU have proved again that national interest has no place in their mind," Shah said.
Rahul attacked the BJP and RSS over the JNU row, saying they do not have respect for diversity of the nation's culture and wanted to control everyone's views.
"The BJP and RSS have no respect for the diversity of the nation's culture and sentiments of the people. They just want that everybody follow their views," Gandhi said at a party meeting in Gohpur in Assam's Sonitpur district.
"The BJP and RSS are following an agenda of creating divide and hatred, as can be seen from the recent developments in JNU, by imposing their views forcibly on people," he said.
"They find terrorism everywhere, even in universities and brand anybody who do not agree with their views as terrorists," he added.
Karat said said ever since the Modi Government came to power, universities across the country have been under siege and there have been constant attempts to "impose ideological hegemony" on universities.
Karat, who is also ex-JNUSU president, made these remarks during his visit to the university campus to express solidarity with the protesting students