The Congress on Monday tweeted a photo of khaki shorts – often associated with members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – triggering a backlash from the Hindutva organisation the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Along with the photo depicting the shorts on fire, the Congress wrote on Twitter: “To free the country from shackles of hate and undo the damage done by BJP-RSS. Step by step, we will reach our goal.”

The social media post was part of the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra campaign that began five days ago. The rally will pass through 12 states where the Congress is aiming to improve its electoral performance.

RSS Joint General Secretary Manmohan Vaidya said on Monday evening that the Congress wanted to spread hatred among citizens, reported PTI. At a press conference, he claimed that the party’s earlier generations of leadership also harboured “hatred and contempt” for the Sangh but could not stop its rise.

Reacting to the tweet, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the Congress was instigating citizens to commit violence.

“Congress has sent a message, through this photo, that people of particular ideology that is Sangh and BJP karyakartas [members] should be eliminated,” he claimed.

Patra demanded that the Congress immediately take down the post, adding that there was no room for violence in India.

Meanwhile, the Congress retorted saying that those who “stoked the fires of hatred, bigotry and prejudice” must be prepared for backlash.

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the RSS and BJP were not used to aggressive responses from his party.

“The fact is that those who opposed the ‘Quit India Movement’ are jealous of today’s Bharat Jodo Yatra success,” he wrote in a series of tweets. “Because if India is united, their hate shop will be shut down.”