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BJP to expose Congress doublespeak on Sanatan Dharma in Hindi belt

Top 5BJP to expose Congress doublespeak on Sanatan Dharma in Hindi belt

NEW DELHI

In what appears to be an ill-timed controversy ahead of Assembly elections in the Hindi belt—including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh—DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin’s statement, saying Sanatan Dharma is against social justice and should hence be eradicated, has started giving nightmares to leaders of the Congress—DMK’s ally and I.N.D.I.A bloc constituent.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark on the need to “protect Sanatan Dharma”, BJP strategists are all set to “expose” the Congress’ doublespeak on Sanatan Dharma and keep the issue hot till the November-December Assembly elections.

Udhayanidhi, son of Tamil Nadu CM and DMK chief M.K. Stalin, said Sanatan Dharma “is like malaria and dengue and must be eradicated” and his party colleague A. Raja added to the controversy by likening Sanatan Dharma to HIV and leprosy. The comment has provided electoral ammunition to the BJP ahead of a string of Assembly elections in the Hindi belt states where the Congress leaders have painstakingly been trying to match the saffron party’s Hindutva narrative.

Following Stalin’s comment, leaders from the Congress at the central level and state level also were seen speaking in different voices—forced by the party’s electoral compulsions ahead of Assembly elections and Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The AICC tried to distance itself from Stalin’s remarks and yet tried not to upset its alliance partner DMK. AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal said “Sarva Dharma Sambhava” was the ideology of the Congress, yet “every party has its own freedom to express its views”. In contrast, Congress leaders in the poll-bound states were vocal in criticising Udhayanidhi’s remarks and distancing their party from the stand taken by the DMK.

An MP Congress leader said, “An unnecessary controversy has been created.” BJP leaders in the Hindi belt said the controversy is sure to tilt the electoral balance in their favour.
Chhattisgarh BJP media in-charge Amit Chimnani said, “The attack on a religion that is followed by 80% of the population is unacceptable.” “The voters in the state are angry over the CM’s silence. The CM who does not spare any opportunity to react on any issue is running away from telling what his party has to say on the ‘Sanatan Dharma’ matter,” said Chimnani, dismissing attempts by Congress leader and Deputy CM T.S. Singhdeo to dissociate the party from Stalin Junior.

Madhya Pradesh BJP media cell leader Ashish Agarwal said, “The episode exposes the double standards of the Congress and Rahul Gandhi as they have adopted complete silence on the ‘Sanatan Dharma’ remark.”

“On the one hand, they talk of Hindutva and, on the other, they remain silent on such rows due to their compulsion to polarise the minority community voters,” said Agarwal.
In response, Congress’ chief ministerial candidate Kamal Nath clarified that he did not agree with Stalin’s remarks. “These may be his personal views.” MP BJP leaders said they will confront Rahul Gandhi with sharp questions on the “Sanatan Dharma” row if he tries to launch a pre-poll “temple run” in the state, just like he did ahead of the previous Assembly elections to woo Hindu voters.

Political analyst Ritwick Srivastav said, “I do not find Stalin’s statement surprising. Both the leading parties in Tamil Nadu—DMK and AIADMK—have their roots in Periyar’s Self-Respect Movement which opposed the Sanatan idea of caste and religion. Many writings of B.R. Ambedkar would also echo the same sentiment. It would rather be interesting to see which side BJP ally AIADMK stands.”

“Politically, the issue will not have a lot of impact. BJP core voter base of 20-22% would get further polarised (if at all), however, the 18-20% swing voter would not vote based on such statements,” he said.

I.N.D.I.A partners should, however, stay away from creating religious controversies as it would inevitably benefit the BJP. They should rather focus on coming out with a vision document for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, said Srivastav.
Last week, Stalin Junior said, “Some things cannot be opposed, they should be eradicated… mosquitoes, dengue fever, malaria and Corona cannot be opposed. They should be eradicated. So should Sanatan (Dharma).” He was addressing the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists’ Association in Chennai.

Meanwhile, led by Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP has stepped up attacks on the Congress and the I.N.D.I.A bloc over the row. At an election rally, Shah said the Opposition bloc was disrespecting the country’s culture, history and Sanatan Dharma. BJP leader Amit Malviya said Stalin Junior is demanding genocide of 80% of the country’s population that follows Sanatan Dharma. BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi said, “I hope the Supreme Court takes cognizance of the hate speech.” He said the Opposition bloc was “anti-Hindu” and needed to be defeated.

Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Dharmendra Pradhan and Anurag Thakur asked leaders from the I.N.D.I.A bloc, including Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, to seek forgiveness from people over their alliance partner Stalin’s comment.

Udhayanidhi Stalin’s state-
ment, saying Sanatan Dhar-
ma is against social justice/.timed controversy ahead of Assembly elections in the Hindi belt—including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh—DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin’s statement, saying Sanatan Dharma is against social justice and should hence be eradicated, has started giving nightmares to leaders of the Congress—DMK’s ally and I.N.D.I.A bloc constituent.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark on the need to “protect Sanatan Dharma”, BJP strategists are all set to “expose” the Congress’ doublespeak on Sanatan Dharma and keep the issue hot till the November-December Assembly elections.
Udhayanidhi, son of Tamil Nadu CM and DMK chief M.K. Stalin, said Sanatan Dharma “is like malaria and dengue and must be eradicated” and his party colleague A. Raja added to the controversy by likening Sanatan Dharma to HIV and leprosy. The comment has provided electoral ammunition to the BJP ahead of a string of Assembly elections in the Hindi belt states where the Congress leaders have painstakingly been

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