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Home / India / Rahul Gandhi's display of 'sacred thread' draws Yogi anger

Rahul Gandhi's display of 'sacred thread' draws Yogi anger

Congress chief will suffer for flaunting janeu, says saffron-robed chief minister
Yogi Adityanath’s (in picture) comments came at an event meant evidently to emphasise the majesty of the Hindu religion and, according to critics, coax Dalits to vote for the BJP after the community apparently rejected the party in the recent Assembly polls.
Yogi Adityanath’s (in picture) comments came at an event meant evidently to emphasise the majesty of the Hindu religion and, according to critics, coax Dalits to vote for the BJP after the community apparently rejected the party in the recent Assembly polls.
(PTI)

Piyush Srivastava   |   Lucknow   |   Published 15.12.18, 10:29 PM

A leader who flaunts marks of his Hindu identity for political gain is bound to come to grief, a senior politician suggested on Saturday.

The target was Rahul Gandhi. The accuser: the saffron-robed monk and Hindutva mascot Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, now licking his wounds after the BJP’s defeats in three states where he was among the star campaigners.

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Adityanath’s comments came at an event meant evidently to emphasise the majesty of the Hindu religion and, according to critics, coax Dalits to vote for the BJP after the community apparently rejected the party in the recent Assembly polls.

“Rahul Gandhi showed his sacred thread and his lineage to become dominant in politics; so he is doomed to suffer,” Adityanath said while inaugurating the two-day Samrasta Kumbh (Social Harmony Congregation) on the new campus of Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University in Ayodhya.

He did not explain in what way the Congress president would suffer.

When Rahul was accused of signing on a register meant for non-Hindu visitors during a visit to the Somnath temple in Gujarat a year ago, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said that Rahul was not only a Hindu but a janeu dhaari (one who wears the sacred thread).

In November this year, Rahul had told a priest during a visit to Pushkar in Rajasthan that his gotra (lineage) was Dattatreya and his family were Kauls (Kashmiri Brahmins).

Congress members had clarified that Rahul’s intention was to silence political rivals who were spreading lies about his religious identity.

While the chief minister twice castigated Rahul for “flaunting” his religion and caste, he also claimed that it was a victory for the “sanatani astha (Hindu faith)” that the Congress chief felt the need to do so.

Adityanath claimed that “an international community” and “so-called Indian intellectuals” were trying to malign Hindu culture “because they were ignorant about the power of religion”.

“A conspiracy has been hatched across the world to malign the Hindu religion. They claim the Kumbh (Mela) is against the environment, women and Dalits,” Adityanath rued.

He went on to buttress his idea of the Hindu religion’s greatness by citing examples.

“The cows in the sheds of Gorakhnath temple used to be restless in the morning. So I asked people (temple workers) to turn the mikes (loudspeakers) towards them during the playing of bhajans. I found that the cows became peaceful and started giving more milk,” the chief minister, who is also head priest at the Gorakhnath temple, said.

“There is a hospital on the temple premises. I asked people to install speakers in the wards and play bhajans for an hour in the morning and the evening. The patients began recovering faster.”

Critics allege that the state government event, organised ostensibly as a curtain-raiser for the Ardh Kumbh, which starts in Allahabad from January 14, is a BJP exercise to try and bring the entire Hindu community under its umbrella before the general election.

Adityanath proclaimed the unity of all Hindus while stressing that Valmiki, the composer of the Ramayan, was a Dalit. The venue of the Samrasta Kumbh has been named Valmiki Nagar.

A few days earlier, Adityanath had burnt his fingers by terming Hanuman a Dalit, the claim triggering ridicule, rebuttals, a court case and accusations of insulting Hinduism.

Manoj Dixit, vice-chancellor of the university, told reporters the congregation would “focus on one nation, one culture and one society and propagate the theory of one creed, one god”. Mishra is considered close to Adityanath and the RSS.

The minister-in-charge for Ayodhya, Ramapati Shastri, said the event would seek “to refresh people’s memory of Ram Rajya, which existed in Ayodhya once”.

“While in exile Ram united the deprived communities, including the Koks, Bheels, Girijans and other tribes, and created social harmony to bring about a Ram Rajya. Our two-day programme will spread this message,” Shastri, who is also the state social welfare minister, said.

Jaswant Singh, a professor at the university and a member of the organising committee, said “4,500 scholars” would attend the event from across the country.



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