BJP a ‘fake Hindu’ party, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader’s aggressive speech reflects a subtle shift his party’s strategy on Hindutva

Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of being a “fake” Hindu party, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the ruling party was acting as a “broker” of the Hindu religion.

Addressing a convention of the All India Mahila Congress (AIMC) on its foundation day, Mr. Gandhi urged women party workers to inform people that the Prime Minister was attacking the power of the Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

Fresh from a visit to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine last week, Mr. Gandhi’s speech reflected the subtle change in the Congress’ strategy, which seems to be attacking the BJP’s on its turf of Hindutva politics.

Mr. Gandhi said Mahatma Gandhi had spent his whole life in understanding and practicing Hinduism in his every day life, yet Nathura Godse, who believed in the ideology of V.D. Savarkar and the Rashtriya Swayamseva Sangh (RSS), had pumped bullets into his [Mahatma Gandhi’s] chest. Mr. Gandhi’s criticism of V.D. Savarkar, however, has often riled its ally in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena.

The Congress leader also asserted that the RSS had never “made a woman Prime Minister” while the Congress was the only party to have done so.

Ye kis prakar ke Hindu hain. Ye jhoote Hindu hain. Ye Hindu dharm ka prayog karte hain, ye dharm ki dalali karte hain, magar ye Hindu nahin hain (What kind of Hindus are they? They are fake Hindus. They use the Hindu religion, they broker the religion, but they are not Hindus,” Mr. Gandhi said, attacking the BJP and the RSS.

Referring to Goddess Lakshmi as the power that helps a person attain one’s goals, and Goddess Durga as the power that protects, the former Congress chief accused Narendra Modi of diminishing these powers.

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi during the celebration of the 38th foundation day of Mahila Congress at the AICC Headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. | Photo Credit: R.V. MOORTHY

“You have to tell the country that Narendra Modi has attacked the power that we call Lakshmi Mata and the power that we call Durga Ma,” he told the Mahila Congress workers, adding that they should deploy “hate” in their fight against the BJP.

The Congress leader said it was important to understand the difference between Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy and that of V.D. Savarkar and Nathuram Godse.

“The BJP-RSS people say they are a Hindu party. In the last 100-200 years, if anyone has understood the Hindu religion in the best way and made it his practice, it is Mahatma Gandhi. We believe in this and so do the BJP-RSS people. So, if Mahatma Gandhi understood the Hindu religion and spent his whole life understanding it, then why did the RSS ideology pump three bullets in his chest?” asked Mr. Gandhi.

“Today, in India, there are 10-15 people who have the power of Durga and Lakshmi. They are Modi-ji’s friends. Ask the poor, go to the houses of farmers, ask if they have money to celebrate Diwali, and they will say they don’t have it,” he added.

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