New Delhi: The BJP Thursday described DMK leader A Raja’s remarks on the Sanatan Dharma as “outrageous and vitriolic”, and said his comments reflect opposition INDIA bloc’s “mental bankruptcy” and “deep-rooted Hinduphobia”.
The Congress and its allies are “consciously” maligning the “soul, spirit and roots of Bharat” as part of a decision taken at their Mumbai meeting last week to hurt the sentiments of Hindus for minority votes, the BJP alleged and asked Rahul Gandhi to clarify if it is not so.
Attacking the INDIA bloc, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said it’s sad to see such statements coming from the leaders of ‘ghamandiya gathbandhan (arrogant alliance)’, led by the Congress.
The Congress said it did not agree with the remarks of A Raja and that of his party colleague Udhayanidhi Stalin, vowing the Congress believed in “sarvadharma sambhav” (equal respect to all religions).
Raja said the Sanatan Dharma should be compared to diseases such as AIDS and leprosy that have a social stigma attached to them. His remarks came days after Stalin made a controversial statement on the Sanatan Dharma.
Minister of Education and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dharmendra Pradhan attacked the INDIA bloc — an Opposition alliance some of whose constituents were part of the erstwhile UPA — over the issue.
“Changing name (from UPA to INDIA) does not conceal one’s intent and character,” he posted on X. “Outrageous and vitriolic comments about Sanatan Dharma, this time by … A Raja, reflect the mental bankruptcy and deep-rooted Hinduphobia that engulfs the I.N.D.I.A bloc.” The DMK is part of the INDIA grouping.
Pradhan said the country is watching how the Congress and its “friends are consciously maligning the soul, spirit and roots of Bharat”. Let these “hate-mongers be reminded that Sanatan is eternal, Sanatan is truth”, Pradhan added.
Anurag Thakur said, “This clearly shows that the blessing of Congress party is with these alliance partners who time and again are making such statements which are anti-Hindu, which are demeaning the Sanatan Dharma,” Thakur charged.
It also shows that during their Mumbai meeting, they agreed to “stoop down to” abusing the Sanatan Dharma one after the other for political gains, the minister said.
The silence of Rahul Gandhi and the larger Gandhi family on the issue “clearly shows” a Congress hand behind these statements, he added.
Thakur demanded Rahul Gandhi break his silence and clarify his stand on the issue. The Congress, meanwhile, said it did not agree with the remarks of DMK leaders Udhayanidhi Stalin and A Raja, and asserted the party believed in “sarvadharma sambhav” (equal respect to all religions).
“My question to Rahul Gandhi is that is it (remarks against Sanatan Dharma) not a violation of the Constitution, law of the land?” Don’t you think it falls under hate speech. If yes, you must come out and say what do you think about these statements?. Why are you silent? What is your helplessness,” the minister added.
Thakur said that opposition leaders’ statements against Sanatan Dharma is bringing “disrepute” to their alliance. “On the occasion of Janamastami, I pray to God to give them good sense.” Slamming the DMK leaders for their remarks, Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Prahlad Patel accused the opposition parties of indulging in “hate politics” for votes and cautioned them against crossing the limit.
Patel called the DMK leaders’ remarks a “conspiracy of INDI Alliance”, and said the “silence” of the Congress top leadership on the issue proves that they have asked their allies to make such statements against the Sanatan Dharma “This has confirmed that it’s a conspiracy of the INDI Alliance. Silence of congress’ top leadership and then statement of their allies, be it DMK leader, Congress second rung leader who is in Karnataka cabinet or, RJD leader from Bihar, show that it’s a part of a well thought out strategy of this INDI Alliance,” he said.
“The Congress top leadership is silent. Rahul Gandhi is silent. (Congress president Mallikarjun) Kharge is silent, while his son (Priyank Kharge) is speaking… this proves that you have asked others to make such statements,” the minister charged.
BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla alleged the anti-Hindu statements coming from the “INDI Alliance” is not just a coincidence but a “well thought out experiment”.
“In the Mumbai meeting, it was decided that Hindu faith has to be hurt to get votes,” he alleged.
“Hence, the episode started with Udhayanidhi Stalin with his eradication of Sanatan Dharma remarks soon after the Mumbai meeting. Congress leaders Priyank Kharge and Karthi Chidambaram came in his support. Yesterday, G Parameshwara (Karnataka minister) asked about the origin of Hindu Dharma,” Poonwalla added.
Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad charged the top Congress leadership with maintaining “silence” over the controversial remarks about the Hindu faith made by some of its own leaders, besides Tamil Nadu ally DMK.
Addressing a press conference in Patna, Prasad, a former union minister, asked whether “a decision was taken to denigrate Hindus” at the recently held meeting of the INDIA grouping.
Amid the row over DMK leaders’ remarks, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Thursday said his son Udhayanidhi made certain comments about the “inhuman principles” preached in the Sanatan Dharma and accused the BJP of being ‘desperate’ to create division in the INDIA bloc.
Udhayanidhi, meanwhile, mounted an offensive on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and accused the BJP leaders of “twisting” his statements made at a writers’ conference last week.
The DMK Youth Wing chief, who is the state minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development, vowed to face all cases in this connection legally.
His sharp criticism of Modi, saying he was “globe-trotting”, afraid of facing questions over the Manipur violence, came a day after the PM discussed the row over the TN leader’s alleged anti-Sanatan Dharma remarks with his cabinet colleagues in New Delhi.
“If something needs eradication from Tamil Nadu, it is the DMK,” BJP’s state unit chief K Annamalai said in a post on X, adding, “D – Dengue, M-Malaria. K – Kosu. Going forward, we are sure that people will associate these deadly diseases with DMK.”