NEW DELHI : The Congress on Thursday slammed Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for his remarks about party Vice President Rahul Gandhi's birth date, saying it does not behove a minister to make such an "obtuse, personal and factually incorrect" remark.
"The Union Law and Justice Minister made some extremely unfortunate and intemperate remarks. What those remarks truly reflected was the very exquisite mixture of ignorance and arrogance, which has come to characterise the functioning of this government," said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
"He (Prasad) said the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) had been in office even before Rahul Gandhi was born. First of all, it does not behove a minister to make such an obtuse personal and factually incorrect remark.
"The BJP actually came into existence only in 1980. We wish the Law Minister had got his facts about the founding of his own party correct," he said.
Tewari further said: "He took umbrage to the fact that Gandhi suggested that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJP intended to amend or even subvert the Constitution.
"We would like to ask him, who was also a minister in Atal Behari Vajpayee government, is it not a fact that the Vajpayee government actually appointed a National Commission to review the working of the Constitution between 1999 and 2004?
"Was that not an attempt to change or subvert the Constitution?"
Tewari said: "He (Prasad) then had a problem with the suggestion that the RSS is infiltrating different institutions in India. Look, what has happened to Prasar Bharati -- it is packed with RSS acolytes and sympathisers.
"Look at the PMO -- the highest positions are occupied by people who owe allegiance to the Vivekananda Foundation. Is the Vivekananda Foundation not connected with the RSS? You have ministers who serve on the board of 'India Foundation'."
Ministers of the union serving on the board of a think-tank belonging to the RSS was a clear case of conflict of interest, he said.
"Then he had a problem that the liberals in this country have a very selective view with regard to political violence and he was alluding to Kerala.
"Political violence has been condemned. But while the Law Minister sees the violence of the CPI-M, he does not see the violence which has been unleashed by his own party men and organisations which owe allegiance to him."
Tewari also said that all those who had gathered for the "Sajha Virasat Bachao" (save composite culture) conference were actually forerunners of the liberal idea of India.
"It has been under stress, strain and sustained assault. However, the ideological battle against sectarianism, fundamentalism, against the kind of obscurantism which the BJP and RSS believes in will continue and ultimately we will win," he added.