New Delhi: A senior JD(U) leader sparked a row on Monday by describing RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi as "two sides of the same coin", drawing swift condemnation from the BJP and the RSS which said his comments were "totally unwarranted" and "reprehensible".
JD(U) General Secretary and spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari said, "Bhagwat and Owaisi are two sides of the same coin. One provokes Hindus against Muslims and the other instigates Muslims against Hindus."
All this was done with an eye on the vote bank, he told reporters on being asked about Bhagwat's comments that women were bound by contract with their husbands to look after the household.
"It is a primitive mindset. They are reviving the past. The philosophy of his organisation is that a lower caste person should be punished for sitting with a upper caste one and molten glass should be poured in his ears if he hears sanskrit," Tiwari said.
Reacting sharply, BJP Chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "We condemn the totally unwarranted, baseless, and undignified comments made by Shivanand Tiwari against the RSS Chief".
His observations linking Bhagwat to Owaisi is not only reprehensible but highly condemnable, he said while asking the top leadership of JD(U) to rein in Tiwari.
BJP's Hindutva face Uma Bharti also criticised Tiwari, saying,"Only somebody who has lost his mind can compare the RSS Chief and Owaisi. I pity such people."
RSS leader Indresh Kumar was also miffed at this charge from the JD(U). "Bhagwat is a patriot while Owaisi is a traitor who has justified terrorism and violence. The mental treatment of those who have made these comments is very necessary. They should get cured. I will pray that they get cured," he said.