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BJP questions INDIA bloc’s silence over Udhayanidhi Stalin's remarks against Sanatan Dharma

Prasad said that the longer Sonia Gandhi maintains silence over the issue, it will be seen as a 'silent approval' and make it clear that opposing Sanatan Dharma and insulting the Hindu faith is part of the Opposition’s 'common minimum programme'

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 13.09.23, 06:16 AM
Ravi Shankar Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad File picture

The BJP on Tuesday sought to rake up the Sanatan Dharma controversy again, betraying desperation to latch on to an emotive and polarising narrative as the election mood sets in in the country.

Former law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was fielded for the second time in recent times to slam the Opposition INDIA bloc leaders, with special focus on Sonia Gandhi, questioning their silence over the denigrating remarks against Sanatan Dharma by DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin and others in his party.

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Prasad said that the longer Sonia Gandhi maintains silence over the issue, it will be seen as a “silent approval” and make it clear that opposing Sanatan Dharma and insulting the Hindu faith is part of the INDIA bloc’s “common minimum programme”.

“How low will you go, and for how long, just to get votes?” he said and asked if Sonia Gandhi ever felt like visiting the Ram temple in Ayodhya. “Not even one big Congress leader has visited Ram Janmabhoomi yet,” Prasad said.

The BJP’s renewed attack came ahead of the proposed meeting of the newly formed coordination committee of the INDIA bloc on Wednesday and in the run-up to the five-day special session of Parliament, the agenda for which is still being kept under wraps by the government.

Prasad said the BJP plans to take the Opposition’s bid to denigrate the Sanatan tradition down to every village in the country. “Sanatan is part of our great tradition. Sanatan Dharm ka apman, nahi sahega Hindustan, Hindu aastha ka apman, nahi sahega Hindustan,” he said.

The BJP leader seized the comment of a DMK leader that the INDIA bloc’s agenda was to oppose Sanatan Dharma and said that it was right since no Opposition leader has come out to deny it. “Can the Opposition leaders dare to denigrate other faiths the way they have been hurting the sentiments of those who follow Sanatan Dharma?” he asked and urged the INDIA bloc to pass a resolution to completely dissociate from the DMK’s line.

Seeking to counter the DMK leader’s charge against Sanatan Dharma of promoting caste discrimination and anti-social justice, Prasad sought to project it as inclusive, claiming that it gives opportunity to all without any discrimination. He noted that temples dedicated to deprived sections, like the Ravidas temple in Varanasi, have been built because “Sanatan Dharma believes that one can attain God irrespective of his caste and community background”.

The way the BJP has been latching onto one issue after another has given rise to a feeling in a section of the ruling party about desperation setting in as the election season approaches. From the Sanatan Dharma controversy to the push to rename the country as Bharat to one nation one election, the BJP appears to be looking for an emotive and polarising narrative to divert attention from the price rise and the lack of jobs that are ringing on the ground.

Five key states are headed for polls later this year followed by the Lok Sabha elections scheduled next year and the BJP leaders have said that they are already in the poll mode.

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