“Nothing To Do With Hinduism”, Rahul Gandhi Hits Out At BJP At Paris Event

'Nothing To Do With Hinduism', Rahul Gandhi Hits Out At BJP At Paris Event

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is in France as part of a week-long tour of Europe.

New Delhi:

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Sunday, declaring neither “have nothing to do with Hinduism” and that “there is nothing Hindu about what the BJP does…”. Mr Gandhi was at an event in France on Sunday, when he said, “I have read the Gita, a number of the Upanishads and many Hindu books… absolutely nothing Hindu about it (the BJP)… “

“I have not read anywhere in any Hindu book, or heard from any learned Hindu person, that you should terrorise or harm people weaker than you. This idea… this word – ‘Hindu nationalist’ – this is a wrong word. They are not ‘Hindu nationalists’… they have nothing to do with Hinduism,” Mr Gandhi emphasised.

Interacting with students at Paris’ Sciences PO University, he ripped into the government, which has been widely criticised for suppressing opposition leaders’ voices within the country, accusing them of being “out to gain power at any cost”.

“They (BJP and RSS) have nothing to do with Hinduism. They are out to gain power at any cost… and will do anything to ensure the caste structure and social structure of my country is not threatened,” he said.

“They seek the dominance of a few… that is what they are about.”

Mr Gandhi’s comments came after a question about the “scary radicalisation of youth by Hindutva forces”. This is not the first time he has attacked the BJP on this topic. In 2021, he called them “fake Hindus” who “use” religion for their benefit.

READ | BJP, RSS Are “Fake Hindus”, They “Use” Religion, Says Congress’s Rahul Gandhi

The jabs invited a predictably furious response with BJP Lok Sabha MP Tejasvi Surya taunting his rival for “crying… while Bharat achieves global consensus” – a reference to the “100 per cent” declaration from the weekend’s G20 meet.

READ | G20 Pact Unveiled, “100% Consensus”, Including On Ukraine: 10 Points

The very fact Rahul Gandhi thinks Hinduism is practiced by referring to ‘books’ shows how shallow his understanding of our dharma,” Mr Surya gloated on X (formerly Twitter).

“That he has been reduced to crying before a handful of people in some far away European city, while Bharat is achieving global consensus at G20, is telling of how the nation has rejected his brand of politics in the last decade,” he declared.

And Then The ‘Sanatan Dharm’ Row

Mr Gandhi’s jabs also come amid a fight over Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comment about ‘Sanatan Dharm’, which the BJP and right-wing commentators have claimed is a “call for the genocide of people with Sanatan thoughts”.

Earlier this month Mr Stalin said, “Sanatana (Dharma) ought to be eradicated like malaria, dengue and mosquito…”

An apoplectic BJP hit back, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several members of his cabinet and party targeting him. Mr Stalin was even the target of a Rs 10 crore bounty allegedly issued by a temple priest in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya.

READ | “Even As We Launch Chandrayaan”: MK Stalin Defends Son In “Sanatan Dharma” Row

Mr Gandhi has not, so far, responded directly to this controversy, although his party has, flip-flopping between support and criticism. Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge disavowed any religion that does not treat all people as equals. However, Congress boss Mallikarjun Kharge, his father, seemed to want distance, declaring “there is no need to mix religion, politics“.

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