Will no longer call RSS ‘Sangh Parivar’, it’s a misnomer: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: In yet another attack on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said it is not right to call the saffron outfit and its associated groups ‘Sangh Parivar’, saying it’s a misnomer.

The Congress MP from Kerala’s Wayanad took to Twitter and said, “A family has women, respect for elders, compassion and affection, and the organisation (RSS) has none of these.”

In a tweet in Hindi, he said he will no longer refer to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as ‘Sangh Parivar’, a united family. “I believe it is not right to call the RSS and associated organizations Sangh Parivar – there are women in the family, there is respect for the elderly, a sense of compassion and affection — which is not there in the RSS,” he tweeted.

The Congress leader’s remarks come a day after he said the alleged harassment of nuns belonging to a Kerala-based congregation in Uttar Pradesh is a result of the Sangh Parivar’s “vicious propaganda” to pitch one community against another and trample on minorities.

Last month, while campaigning in Tamil Nadu, Rahul had said that RSS and BJP have used money power to destroy “institutional balance”, which manifested in several ways such as “poaching” of MLAs and “infiltration” of the judiciary.

“Over the last six years, there has been a systematic attack on elected institutions and free press that hold the nation together. Democracy doesn’t die with a bang, it dies slowly. The RSS has destroyed the institutional balance,” Gandhi said.

He also said that democracy was “dead” in India because of the RSS and the alleged erosion of Parliament, state assemblies, panchayats, judiciary and a free press.

The RSS, meanwhile, welcomed the remarks, saying it is a compliment. “RSS means discipline, nationalism and all other good qualities. If somebody says that RSS is influencing the judiciary or any field, people should feel happy that something good will happen. It is a compliment given by Rahul Gandhi,” the outfit said.

The Assembly elections will be held in four states – West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala – and union territory of Puducherry in the coming weeks. The electoral exercise will begin on March 27 – with eight phases in West Bengal, three in Assam and one each in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry – and the results will be declared on May 2.