BJP-Cong slugfest over Rahul's Masood 'Azharji' remark

BJP-Cong slugfest over Rahul's Masood 'Azharji' remark

Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses booth-level workers during 'Mera Booth, Mera Gaurav' convention at Indira Gandhi Stadium, in New Delhi, on Monday. PTI

Congress president Rahul Gandhi's reference to Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad's chief as 'Masood Azhar ji' kicked off a row with the BJP slamming him for showing respect for a terrorist.

“You would recall, these people who boast of 56-inch chest, in their previous government, the current National Security Advisor Ajit Doval went in an aircraft with Masood Azhar ji and handed over Masood Azhar there in Kandahar,” Rahul said addressing party workers here.

Latching on Rahul's remarks, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wondered what had happened to the Congress party.

“Come on Rahul Gandhi Ji! Earlier it was the likes of Digvijay Ji who called Osama Ji and Hafiz Saeed Sahab. Now you are saying 'Masood Azhar Ji'. What is happening to Congress Party,” Prasad said soon after the Congress president's remarks.

The Congress dismissed the BJP criticism saying that Rahul had made a sarcastic reference to the JeM chief which was being deliberately twisted by the BJP.

“What is common between Rahul Gandhi and Pakistan? Their love for terrorists,” Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said on Twitter using the hashtag “RahulLovesTerrorists”.

Congress hit back with a hashtag “BJPLovesTerrorists” and pointed out that it was Doval who had escorted Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Omar Saeed Sheikh to Kandahar in 1999.