Wednesday, July 17, 2024

‘Modi, BJP, RSS not entire Hindu community’, Rahul Gandhi equates Hinduism with Ahimsa – N.F Times

New Delhi: In a bold expression of his religious ideals, Congress MP and Leader of Opposition (LoP) Rahul Gandhi displayed a picture of Lord Shiva, Guru Nanak and Jesus Christ in the Lok Sabha while explaining “that the opposition follows the values taught by them.”

Gandhi’s actions, however, were met with strong objection by Speaker Om Birla who cited the exhibition of any placard or sign, as a violation of the rules of the House.

Members of key BJP allies TDP and JDU mostly sat silent but the entire Opposition cheered, particularly Trinamool and DMK members.

“Shivji kahte hain, ‘daro mat darao mat’ (Lord Shiva says, ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t make others afraid’),” Rahul said.

“He shows the fearless posture, talks about non-violence… and those who call themselves Hindu, they talk about violence, hatred and falsehood round the clock,” he added, provoking BJP allegations that he was attacking the Hindu religion.

“Aap Hindu ho hi nahi (You are not Hindu). In the Hindu religion, it’s written, ‘Stand with the truth, don’t step back from the truth, don’t fear the truth’. Non-violence is our creed,” Rahul retorted over the din.

Modi then rose to intervene — possibly a first for him in the last 10 years.

“Yeh vishay bahut gambhir hai. Purey Hindu samaj ko hinshak kehna, yeh bahut gambhir hai (This is very serious. Calling the entire Hindu society violent is very serious),” he said.

Other BJP members took the cue and launched into a counter-attack.

Rahul promptly said he wasn’t calling all Hindus “violent” but only the BJP and Modi.

“BJP ko, aapko… nahi, nahi, Narendra Modiji pura Hindu samaj nahi hain. BJP pura Hindu samaj nahi hai (I’m referring to the BJP and you… no, no, Narendra Modi doesn’t make up the whole of Hindu society, nor does the BJP),” he said, adding that the RSS-BJP did not have a thekedari (monopoly) over Hinduism.

Pointing to the Opposition members, he said: “All of them are Hindus.”

Environment minister Bhupendra Yadav intervened, citing rules. He said Rahul lacked the “tarika” (etiquette), alleging he was continuously — and inappropriately — turning his back towards the Chair. He accused Rahul of tarnishing all Hindus.

Shah rose amid the uproar. “The LoP has categorically said, ‘Those who call themselves Hindu, they talk about violence and resort to violence’,” he said, demanding an “apology”.

“He doesn’t know that there are crores in this country who proudly call themselves Hindu. Are they all violent? Equating one religion with violence by a person who occupies a constitutional post, in my opinion, he should tender an apology before the House,” Shah said.

Modi bit Rahul’s bait the second time when the LoP said defence minister Rajnath Singh had greeted him in the morning with a smile, something Modi or even Nitin Gadkari had never done. He alleged there was “fear” among BJP leaders, even the ministers.

“The Constitution and democracy have taught me to take the leader of the Opposition seriously,” Modi said, striking an ironical note.

Rahul held up a poster with the image of Shiva and then displayed images representing other religions — including Islam, Sikhism, Christianity and Buddhism — to stress that all of them underlined “fearlessness” and “non-violence”.

The BJP benches appeared nonplussed initially; the objections started after Rahul shifted from the Shiva image to the symbols of other religions. Speaker Birla too said that showing such images was against the rules.

As Rahul again held up Shiva’s poster again, Shah stood up. “Showing pictures, accusing the whole of the BJP of being violent… don’t the rules apply to him?” he said. “This House can’t run like this. I urge you (Speaker) that the House be in order.”

Rahul referred to the BJP’s defeat in the Faizabad seat, which includes Ayodhya, saying: “The birthplace of Lord Ram has sent a message to the BJP.”

He pointed to Samajwadi MP Awadhesh Parasad, the victor from Faizabad, and said: “And the message is sitting right here in front of you.”

Rahul said the BJP lost Ayodhya because land had been acquired for the airport without proper compensation, and small shops and houses were bulldozed to widen the roads.

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