NEW DELHI---A tweet by All India Radio (AIR) targeting Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for his Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh remarks kicked up a row on Thursnight with Congress dubbing it as "unpardonable" and "shameful", and asking Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu whether the public broadcaster was being allowed to propagate the saffron agenda.
"WHY he got scared earlier? How he became daring again to defame #RSS?"
The official Twitter handle of AIR tweeted this after Rahul Gandhi withdrew his plea in the Supreme Court seeking to quash the defamation case filed against him for holding the RSS responsible for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
Soon after that, in a series of tweets, party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewela reacted sharply to AIR's action, saying the broadcaster was caught sponsoring RSS agenda.
Asking Rahul Gandhi to "stick to comments", AIR's tweet with the hashtag #RahulRattlesRSS was later deleted on the direction of the director general of news at AIR, Sitanshu Kar.
AIR later tweeted that it was deleted saying it didn't conform to the editorial standards of the national broadcaster.
The said tweet has been deleted on the direction of DG News as it did not conform to editorial standards of AIR. https://t.co/iq43vuGVcZ— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) September 1, 2016
"All India Radio hurriedly deleted the outrageous tweet but caught red-handed sponsoring saffron propaganda. Unprecedented, unheard of that official broadcaster should attack Mr Rahul Gandhi! Shameful & unpardonable.
"Does Information & Broadcasting Minister @MVenkaiahNaidu take orders from the RSS for tweets from AIR? So now All India Radio has officially become His Masters' Voice? So rattled by #RahulRattlesRSS???" Surjewela tweeted.
Kar said that they were taking stock of the situation before any action can be taken.
Earlier in the day, Rahul told the Supreme Court he stood by every word he had said at an election rally in 2014 about people associated with the RSS being behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and that he was prepared to face trial in the defamation case filed against him by a Sangh functionary in a Maharashtra court.
Rahul then withdrew the appeal filed by him against the Bombay High Court verdict refusing to quash the defamation case and summons issued to him by the trial court in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra's Thane district.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court a few days ago, the Congress vice president had said he had not blamed RSS as an institution for Gandhi's assassination.
(With inputs from PTI)