Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday stirred a controversy after he referred Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Massod Azhar as 'Masood Azhar ji' giving fresh ammunitions to the BJP, which said the Congress "loves terrorists."
While addressing the party's booth presidents in national capital's Indira Gandhi Stadium, Gandhi while hitting out at the National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said, "Over 40 security personnel died in the Pulwama terrorist attack in Kashmir for which the responsibility was owned up by Pakistani terrorist outfit Jaish-E-Mohammed.
"It may be recalled that the chief of Jaish, Masood Azhar ji, who was in an Indian jail, was taken to Kandahar by NSA chief Ajit Doval during the previous BJP government, and set him free," he said.
What is common between Rahul Gandhi and Pakistan?— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) March 11, 2019
Their love for terrorists.
Please note Rahul ji’s reverence for terrorist Masood Azhar - a testimony to #RahulLovesTerrorists pic.twitter.com/CyqoZ7b9CF
The BJP leaders soon got an ammunition to hit back at the Congress.
Union Minister Smriti Irani said, "What is common between Rahul Gandhi and Pakistan? Their love for terrorists. Please note Rahulji's reverence for terrorist Masood Azhar."
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also took to twitter and said, "Come on "Rahul Gandhiji! Earlier it was the likes of Digvijayji (Singh) who called 'Osamaji' (Osama Bin Laden) and 'Hafiz Saeed Sahab'. Now you are saying "Masood Azharji". What is happening to Congress Party?"
Come on “Rahul Gandhi Ji”!— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) March 11, 2019
Earlier it were 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? pic.twitter.com/fIB4FoOFOh
Union Minister Giriraj Singh also slammed the Congress President for calling the dreaded terrorist 'ji' -- used in Hindi as a mark of respect for an individual.
"Congress has a very special habit. They give a lot of respect to terrorists," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Countering BJP's strikes, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala termed the Gandhi's reference of Azhar as a sarcasm and fired salvos over the release of the terrorist in 1999.
2 questions to BJP & select Bhakt Media,who deliberately seek to twist the ‘Masood’ sarcasm of Rahulji-:— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) March 11, 2019
1 Did NSA Doval not escort & release terrorist Masood Azhar in Kandahar?
2 Did Modiji not invite Pak's rogue ISI to investigate Pathankot terror attack? #BJPLovesTerrorists pic.twitter.com/nBvjsQi7Mp
"Two questions to BJP and select Bhakt Media, who deliberately seek to twist the Masood' sarcasm of Rahulji - 1) Did NSA Doval not escort and release terrorist Masood Azhar in Kandahar? 2) Did Modiji not invite Pak's rogue ISI to investigate Pathankot terror attack?" Surjewala questioned.