New Delhi: The recent remark of DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin equating ‘Sanatan Dharma’ to ‘dengue, malaria and corona’ saw the Congress divided in its opinions. As the BJP linked his remarks to the Opposition bloc’s “anti-Hindu strategy” ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram defended him saying likening his comment to a “genocidal call” is the saffron party’s “mischievous spin”. However, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole distanced the grand old party from the row, saying it respects all religions and does not want to comment on the issue.
Speaking at an event on Saturday, the DMK leader had said, “There are some things which we have to eradicate and can’t merely oppose. Mosquitoes, dengue, fever, malaria and corona, all these are things which we cannot oppose, we have to eradicate them. Sanatanam (Sanatan Dharma) is like this.”
Here are the reactions amid the controversy:
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah slammed the Opposition alliance I.N.D.I.A of engaging in vote bank politics by “insulting” ‘Sanatan Dharma’. “For the last two days INDIA alliance is insulting ‘Sanatana Dharma’. Leaders of DMK and Congress are talking about ending ‘Sanatana Dharma’ just for vote bank politics. This is not the first time they have insulted our ‘Sanatana Dharma’…Rahul Gandhi said that the Hindu organisations are more dangerous than Lashkar-e-Taiba. Rahul Gandhi compared Hindu organisations with Lashkar-e-Taiba,” he said.
- Terming Udhayanidhi’s remarks as a “genocidal call”, BJP MP Sudhanshu Trivedi said he is not only calling for “eradication of Sanatan Dharma” but “eradication of a major chunk of the Indian population that follow Sanatan Dharma.” Hitting out at the Opposition, he said, “Through this remark, their real design has been exposed, which is to demolish the framework of India that’s based on knowledge, development and prosperity.”
- “Is Udayanidhi’s statement a part of the I.N.D.I.A alliance’s political strategy… Are you going to use this anti-Hindu strategy in the upcoming elections… You have proved multiple times that you hate everything related to our country,” BJP national president JP Nadda said while addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh earlier in the day.
- Congress MP Karti Chidambaram defended Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks saying BJP likening it to a “genocidal call” is like giving it a “mischievous spin”. Taking to X, he wrote, “Why is it that everyone who is batting for “SD” comes from the privileged segment who are beneficiaries of the “Hierarchy” There was no call for “Genocide” against anyone, this is a mischievous spin.”
- Meanwhile, Congress leader Nana Patole distanced the party from the row, saying the Congress respects all religions and does not want to comment on an issue that could hurt anyone’s sentiments. “Congress’ stand is clear, we do not want to comment on any religion or to hurt anyone’s sentiments,” news agency ANI quoted Patole as saying.
- Terming Stalin junior’s remark as a “personal opinion”, Chhattisgarh Deputy CM TS Singh Deo told ANI, “This can be his personal opinion. There are lots of religions in the world and any such comment on any religion is personal, everybody has the freedom. I cannot say on behalf of Congress, I am not a spokesperson. I can say personally that India’s ‘Sanatana Dharma’ is centuries old and is well established.”
- Weighing in on Udhayanidhi’s remarks, political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla told ANI, “This kind of language in our political discourse is absolutely unacceptable. I believe that while every way of life does require reform, they must happen through legislation, political movements, dialogue, through conversation. I think this kind of language must be condemned.”
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