Sanatan Dharma Row: On INDIA meet eve, BJP questions Congress 'silence' : The Tribune India

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Sanatan Dharma Row: On INDIA meet eve, BJP questions Congress 'silence'

TN minister’s remarks provide fresh fodder to BJP

Sanatan Dharma Row: On INDIA meet eve, BJP questions Congress 'silence'

Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad addresses a press meet.



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, September 12

The Sanatan Dharma row escalated Tuesday with the ruling BJP launching a no-holds barred attack on the INDIA bloc after a senior minister of its constituent DMK declared that the alliance was forged “as an opposition to the Sanatan ideology”.

Shekhawat’s ‘tongue’ barb goes viral

A video of Union minister Gajendra Shekhawat’s reaction to Udhayanidhi’s recent comments against Sanatan Dharma went viral on Tuesday. Speaking at Barmer in poll-bound Rajasthan, Shekhawat said he “will pull out tongue and gouge out eyes”. The Congress didn’t respond to the remark.

Coming on the eve of the first meeting of INDIA’s coordination panel at NCP founder Sharad Pawar’s residence in New Delhi on Wednesday, Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy’s remarks reignited the Dravidian versus Sanatan row, offering fresh fodder to the ruling BJP at the Centre.

Against DMK’s remarks

The BJP will urge this alliance (INDIA) to come out with a categorical resolve that they dissociate with it (DMK’s remarks) , said party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“The Congress and ‘INDI Alliance’ should clarify their opinion on this statement, and tell whether there is a right in the Constitution to make objectionable statements about any religion? Are the people of ‘INDI Alliance’ not aware of the provisions of the Constitution?” BJP chief JP Nadda personally led the charge against the opposition even as the Congress said it did not need certificate from the BJP on nationalism or Sanatan Dharma.

Nadda said Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi’s statement (comparing Sanatan Dharma to diseases warranting eradication) came just two days after the Mumbai meeting of the INDIA group. “Then Congress leader Priyank Kharge’s attack on Sanatan came, and today the DMK minister accepted that ‘INDI Alliance’ was formed in protest against Sanatan Dharma. This is part of a well-thought out strategy by Rahul and Congress,” the BJP president said with party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad asking why Sonia Gandhi was silent while the country’s culture and heritage was being insulted daily.

“This silence is an indication of approval,” Prasad said as the BJP drafted a strategy to take on the opposition on remarks against Sanatan Dharma. The BJP said the DMK was not isolated within the INDIA bloc as far as “insulting the Hindus goes”.

“Bihar minister-RJD leader Chandra Shekhar and Samajwadi Party’s Swami Prasad Maura have repeatedly criticised Hindu holy books, and the respective party leadership has remained silent,” Prasad noted.

While TMC and AAP have expressed public disapproval of DMK leaders’ remarks, the Congress has maintained that it respects all religions equally.

When confronted with fresh remarks by a DMK minister today, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said the BJP should concentrate on issues of the day.

“We do not want certificate from the BJP on nationalism, on Sanatan Dharma and on the contribution to our freedom movement. Because, on all these aspects their score is zero,” Shrinate said.

There are, however, signs of anxiety within the bloc over repeated anti-Sanatan remarks by DMK leaders despite Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee publicly urging respect for all faiths. The matter is likely to come up during the INDIA coordination committee meeting tomorrow where top leaders of all constituent parties will strategise on seat-sharing and campaign planks for the upcoming state and 2024 Lok Sabha elections. There is a growing sense in the INDIA alliance that the DMK utterances could harm the parties in the Hindi heartland. A minority view within INDIA says the polarisation may help. The dilemma, however, persists and would need to be addressed.

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#BJP #Congress #Sanatan Dharma


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