New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor triggered a controversy with his remarks that if voted to power again, the BJP will rewrite the Constitution and pave the way for creation of a “Hindu Pakistan”.
The comments by Tharoor sparked demands from the BJP Thursday for an apology from Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the “attack on Indian democracy and Hindus” while his party voiced its disapproval and cautioned its leaders to exercise restraint in their response to what it called the saffron party’s “hatred”.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also assailed Tharoor, dubbing his remarks as “pure hallucination”.
“If they have been able to win a repeat of their current strength in the Lok Sabha, then frankly, our own democratic Constitution, as we understand, will not survive… because then they will have all the three elements they need to tear up the Constitution of India and write a new one.
“And that will enshrine the principle of Hindu Rashtra, that will remove equality for the minorities, and that will create a Hindu Pakistan . . . and that is not what Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and great heroes of freedom struggle fought for,” the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram told an event in the Kerala state capital yesterday. Lok Sabha polls are due next year.
Unfazed by the controversy, a combative Tharoor took to Facebook today to defend his comments, insisting that the BJP and RSS’ idea of a Hindu Rashtra was the “mirror image” of Pakistan.
A livid BJP came out strongly against Tharoor with party spokesman Sambit Patra calling it “extraordinary” as it was an “attack on the Indian democracy and Hindus”. “Yet again Tharoor has cattle-classed Indian democracy. The Congress’ character is that it crosses the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ (limit) in its hatred for Narendra Modi and the BJP, and in doing so, it assaults Indian democracy,” he told reporters in Delhi.
“It is shameful to denigrate one’s own country, one’s own country’s democracy, to denigrate the Hindu religion time and again.
“This is a shameful act for which Rahul Gandhi should come out and not only apologise but explain to us why any leader of that party, whenever they open their mouth, they speak this way,” he said.
Tharoor had courted a controversy a few years ago when he was a minister at the Centre with his comment on Twitter that he would travel “cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows.”
The comment had followed the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s advice to Congress leaders to observe austerity in order to cut down expenditure in the wake of drought in several parts of the country.