Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday castigated the newly formed Opposition grouping INDIA, saying that those who wanted to break the country apart had names like East India Company and Indian Mujahideen, PTI reported.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders said the prime minister made the references to the erstwhile British trading company and the terrorist group at a parliamentary committee meeting of the party.

The prime minister also described INDIA, an acronym for Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, as a collection of corrupt leaders and parties. He expressed confidence that the BJP will retain power at the Centre for a third consecutive term after the Lok Sabha polls next year.

BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri told reporters that Modi referred to the East India Company and the Indian Mujahideen to assert that Indians cannot be misled merely by the use of the country’s name, PTI reported.

Former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Modi told BJP leaders that both the Indian National Congress and the East India Company had been founded by foreigners. “People also keep names like Indian Mujahideen and Indian People’s Front,” he added. “They show something on their face, but the truth is something else.”

Union minister Pralhad Joshi said that Modi said the Opposition was “directionless” and had sunk deep in despair. “Modi said its conduct suggests that it had reconciled to remain in the Opposition for a long time,” Joshi added.

Modi’s sharp comments came amid a face-off in Parliament between the government and the Opposition over the ethnic violence in Manipur. Proceedings have been disrupted since the Monsoon Session began on July 20 as the Opposition has demanded that Modi should give a statement in Parliament about the situation in the northeastern state, followed by a discussion.

On Tuesday, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said in the Rajya Sabha that the prime minister was busy talking about the East India Company at a time when Manipur was burning.

On Twitter, Kharge wrote that the situation in the northeastern state was fragile and the repercussions of the violence seemed to be spilling over to other states too.

“Stories of absolute horror are now slowly trickling down,” he wrote. “INDIA demands answers from the Modi government on Manipur violence.”

Kharge said it was high time that Modi sheds his ego and informs the country about the steps taken to improve the situation in Manipur.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted that Modi could call the Opposition coalition whatever he wanted, but they will “help heal Manipur and wipe the tears of every woman and child”.

“We will rebuild the idea of India in Manipur,” Gandhi wrote.