NEW DELHI: Amidst the ongoing political debate sparked by DMK Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments on ‘Sanatana Dharma,’ Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed his belief that “Sanatana Dharma” will endure regardless of circumstances. Speaking at a rally in Madhya Pradesh, Sarma took a swipe at Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, stating, “I want to tell Rahul Gandhi that ‘Sanatana was, Sanatana is, and Sanatana will always be…..”.
#WATCH | Madhya Pradesh: I want to tell Rahul Gandhi ‘Sanatana tha, Sanatana hai, aur Sanatana hamesha rahega…..’: Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma pic.twitter.com/ah0SqFVlgo
— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2023
Interestingly, on September 17, the Assam Chief Minister labeled Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as a “Chunavi Hindu” (Hindu for election purposes), asserting that the response from the Opposition INDIA bloc would have been different if such comments were made against another religion instead of Sanatana Dharma.
Addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ event in the Narsinghpur district, Sarma emphasized that Sanatana Dharma has endured for over 5,000 years due to the efforts of countless individuals.
“Sanatana Dharma will persist as long as the sun and moon exist. Hindus embrace tolerance. The Congress and INDIA bloc label it [anti-Sanatana Dharma statements] as freedom of expression. However, if someone had commented about Muslims, they would have been swiftly condemned by the Congress and its allies,” Sarma contended.
Sarma, representing the BJP, stressed that speaking against Muslims should be avoided, just as speaking against Sanatana Dharma and Hindus should be. He affirmed, “We respect all religions and believe in ‘Sarvdharam Sambhav’ [amity among all religions].”
In a playful jab at Rahul Gandhi, Sarma questioned whether the audience had witnessed the Congress leader visiting temples during the 2018 Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls campaign.
Udhayanidhi Stalin recently stirred controversy by making objectionable remarks about ‘Sanatana Dharma.’ Since then, the political rivalry between NDA and INDIA alliance has escalated after Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin equated ‘Sanatana Dharma’ with “mosquitoes, dengue, malaria, fever, and corona.”
However, the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT), and Aam Aadmi Party, all part of the Opposition INDIA bloc, distanced themselves from the DMK leader.
The Bharatiya Janata Party condemned Udhayanidhi for his comments and subsequently questioned Rahul Gandhi’s stance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue during a meeting with Cabinet ministers, urging them to provide a strong response to the Sanatana Dharma debate using factual arguments against the opposition.
Questioning Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin’s son, Udhayanidhi Stalin, for his objectionable remarks against Sanatana Dharma, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut stated that the DMK leader, an ally in the INDIA bloc, should keep his personal or party views within the state.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin staunchly defended his minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, asserting that it was unfair for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make comments without understanding Udhayanidhi’s stance on ‘Sanatana Dharma.’
In his statement, MK Stalin accused Bharatiya Janata Party leaders of propagating a false narrative alleging that Udhyanidhi advocated for the genocide of those with Sanatan beliefs.
Udhyanidhi also released a statement clarifying his remarks on ‘Sanatan Dharma’ and criticized BJP leaders for twisting his speech as ‘inciting genocide,’ considering it a weapon to defend themselves.
Days after an FIR was registered against him and Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin over remarks made on ‘Sanatana Dharma,’ Karnataka Minister Priyank Kharge clarified that his statement did not intend to hurt the sentiments of any religion, emphasizing his allegiance to the Constitution.