Congress distances itself from Sanatana Dharma row | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Congress distances itself from Sanatana Dharma row

Sep 17, 2023 05:00 AM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that BJP is trying to create diversion using Sanatana Dharma while Digvijaya Singh suggested to be cautious on the issue.

Two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged in Madhya Pradesh that the INDIA bloc’s hidden agenda is to destroy Sanatana Dharma, the Congress tried to distance itself from the controversy triggered by its ally Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and said there was no discussion on the issue in its working committee meeting.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh along with party leaders P Chidambaram, Pawan Khera and Dr Vineet Punia address the media on the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, in Hyderabad on Saturday (ANI)
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh along with party leaders P Chidambaram, Pawan Khera and Dr Vineet Punia address the media on the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, in Hyderabad on Saturday (ANI)

Read here: 'Free speech can't be hate speech': Madras HC amid Sanatana Dharma debate row

Hindustan Times - your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

A few leaders, including former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, briefly touched upon the issue. According to a senior leader from south India present in the meeting, "Gandhi maintained that the party should focus on other issues as the BJP is trying to create diversion using Sanatana Dharma."

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh suggested that the party needs to be cautious on the issue of Sanatana Dharma.

“There was no discussion on Sanatana Dharma in CWC (Congress working committee). The Congress president has made it absolutely clear that the Congress party is not willing to be drawn into any controversy on Sanatana Dharma,” P Chidambaram said after the first day’s meeting. “We have always maintained equal respect for all religions and we stand by that consistent position for many decades.”

Chidambaram, however, explained the context in which the DMK has spoken about Sanatana Dharma.

“I am not speaking for the DMK. But I can tell you what the DMK said. DMK said they are not opposed to any religion. They are opposed to caste religion and caste hierarchy. All these goes into suppression of women. Oppression of Dalits and the impediments placed on the so-called lower caste in the caste hierarchy. The DMK has explained that they have mentioned Sanatana Dharma in that context,” the senior Congress leader said.

Pressure has been mounting on the Congress over the Sanatana Dharma issue after Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin compared it with malaria and called for its eradication. On Saturday, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath said that the proposed INDIA bloc’s rally at Bhopal next month has been cancelled. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan linked it to public anger over the Sanatana Dharma issue.

“We will find out why the rally has been allegedly cancelled,” Chidambaram said, adding that the claim that the Congress is afraid to face the people was wrong as the party will be holding a public rally in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Read here: Understand definition of Sanatana Dharma before making statements, says RSS leader Vaidya

At Bina in Madhya Pradesh, Modi slammed what he called as the hidden agenda of the INDIA group. “At a time when Bharat is emerging as a world leader at global forums, some parties are trying to divide the country and its people. These people came together to form an INDI alliance. Some people are calling it a ghamndiya (arrogant) alliance,” the Prime Minister had said. “They don’t have a leader yet and there is a lot of suspense on who would lead them going into the Lok Sabha elections next year. They are working with a hidden agenda, which is to attack India’s culture.”

“This INDI alliance adopted a resolution to end our Sanatana culture,” Modi said. “They are bent on destroying the ideologies, cultures and traditions that have kept the country and our people together for centuries.”

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