Rahul taking Cong on new path with ‘India country of Hindus’ remark: Sena

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Two days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that India is a country of Hindus and not Hindutvawadis, Shiv Sena has said that Gandhi was trying to take his party in a new direction. An editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said that Gandhi’s wordplay on Hindu and Hindutvawadi showed that the party, which was stuck in “useless secularism”, had made an appeal to the majority Hindus after a long time.

“This is a country of Hindus and not Hindutvavadis. Since 2014, it’s the Hindutvavadis who are in power, and not Hindus. We need to oust them and bring the rule of Hindus,” Gandhi said at a rally in Jaipur on December 12 to protest persistent inflation.

This was not the first instance of Gandhi trying to suggest that Hindutva was a radical form of Hinduism. He had earlier attempted to draw a similar distinction while responding to the row over the controversial comparison between Hindutva and terrorist groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram, done in Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s latest book.

Sena mouthpiece on Tuesday noted that Gandhi in his latest speech had tried to differentiate between ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hindutvawadi’ (follower of Hinduism) and said that despite the wordplay the Congress had made an appeal to the majority Hindus after a long time. “Rahul Gandhi has tried to give a new direction to the Congress, which was stuck in the useless secularism,” said Saamana, It further added that the presence of Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi in Jaipur has shown the way for the 2024 general elections.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who is also the executive editor of Saamana, said that Gandhi’s speech was a move in the right direction and that no one can move ahead by overlooking the Hindus in the country.

“Even though the country belongs to everybody (to all religions), no one can overlook the majority Hindus and move ahead politically. I have had discussions over this [topic] many times with Rahul Gandhi. His speech in Jaipur meant that the soul of Congress was Hindu. The souls of several Congress leaders right from Mahatma Gandhi to Madan Mohan Malaviya and to Lokmanya Tilak was Hindu. I think Congress will move ahead in this direction now,” Raut told media persons in New Delhi.

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The Sena mouthpiece further slammed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying the “current rulers of Delhi do not match the Hindu culture” which is filled with “fake Hindutva as Uddhav Thackeray had said.”

The editorial said, “When people say that ‘inflation has risen, living has become impossible, do something’, then a reply such as ‘Ram Mandir has been built and now the work on Mathura temple will begin’ does not fit in Hindu culture. The current government in Delhi does not match Hindu culture. As Uddhav Thackeray says it is filled it fake Hindutva.”

As a policy, the Maharashtra unit of the BJP does not respond to remarks made in Saamana.

The editorial argued that India was partitioned on the basis of religion in 1947 and since Muslims got Pakistan, “then what was wrong to think that the remaining Hindustan was for the Hindus?” It further said, “Since the beginning, Hindus got step-brotherly treatment in their own country in the name of secularism.”

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