The Bharatiya Janata Party continued its criticism of DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks on ‘sanatana dharma’ (eternal order).
Addressing a writers’ conference in Chennai last week, Mr Stalin had said the idea of ‘sanatana dharmais against the idea of social justice and must be eradicated.’
The Congress on Monday oscillated between support for the embattled Tamil Nadu politician and rejection of his remarks.
Senior leader KC Venugopal underlined the need to respect all religions, stating that every political outfit ‘has the freedom to (express) their views’ and that the Congress ‘respects everybody’s beliefs…’
‘Our view is clear… ‘Sarva Dharma Samabhava’(all religions are different paths to one destination) is the Congress ideology,’ he said.
On the other side was ex-Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who told reporters, ‘These may be his personal views… I am not in agreement with Mr Stalin.’
Nath is prepping for an Assembly election in his state later this year.
The most forccomment was from Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge, party chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s son.
Kharge said ‘any religion that does not give equal rights is as good as disease…’
‘Any religion that does not promote equality, or does not ensure you have dignity of being human, is not religion, according to me. Any religion that does not give equal rights… is as good as disease…’
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Priyanka Chaturvedi also offered support. She posted on X defending sanatan dharmaas ‘the country’s bedrock… linked… to inclusiveness of all faiths and identities.’
‘Sanatan Dharmstands for eternal truth, way to live life, conscience & being.Sanatanishave long withstood attacks by invaders to end their identity yet have not just survived but thrived. Country’s bedrock, linked tosanatan dharm, has been of inclusiveness of all faiths and identities,’ she said.
‘Anyone making derogatory comments it is ignorant of what it stands for.’
Ms Chaturvedi also hit out at the BJP over its ‘fake concern’ that she said ‘exposes their sick hypocrisy’ and pointed to violence during protests in BJP and the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena-ruled Maharashtra.
The defence of Mr Stalin, whose party the DMK is a key member of the INDIA alliance that held its third meet Mumbai last week, comes as the BJP and several Hindu religious groups ramp up their attacks.
Other members of the alliance, including the Aam Aadmi Party and the Trinamool Congress, have yet offer any official comment, while Mr Stalin’s party colleagues as well as regional parties in Tamil Nadu have been staunchly defending the CM’s son.
‘We want to do away with ‘sanatan dharma‘ which perpetuates caste rigidity. They want this caste hierarchy to continue. DMK is a progressive party which wants to do away with these regressive attitudes,’ party leader Saravanan Annadurai was quoted by news agency ANI.
Mr Stalin later accused the BJP of ‘twisting’ his statement and spreading incorrect information, adding that he is ready to face any cases filed against him, including one filed with Delhi Police on Sunday.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday led the BJP’s criticism of Udhayanidhi Stalin as the party targets the INDIA alliance ahead of multiple state elections this year, including Rajasthan (where he was speaking) and Madhya Pradesh, as well as the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Mr Shah declared the INDIA alliance ‘hates Hinduism’ and is ‘an attack on our heritage’ and that Mr Stalin’s remarks were part of the INDIA bloc’s ‘vote bank politics’ and ‘appeasement tactic.’
BJP boss JP Nadda weighed in on the criticism, adding that he wanted to know if ‘Udhayanidhi’s statement (is) part of the INDIA alliance’s strategy.’
‘Are you going to use this anti-Hindu strategy in elections…’ he asked in Madhya Pradesh. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, wants INDIA members to apologise ‘or country won’t forgive them.’
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai slammed Mr Stalin as ‘Hitler’ and the INDIA alliance as a ‘group of parties who are joining hands to come to power at the cost of social fabric of country.’
‘Udhayanidhi Hitler is the right word for him,’ he remarked.
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