New Delhi: Udhayanidhi Stalin, a Tamil Nadu minister, remains unwavering in the face of the controversy surrounding his statement on “sanatana dharma.” He boldly asserted, “I will reiterate the same statement again and again.” However, Mr. Stalin clarified that his intention was to denounce caste-based distinctions. “Two days ago, I addressed a gathering concerning ‘sanatana dharma.’ Whatever I stated… I will reaffirm it repeatedly. I included all religions, not limited to Hinduism alone… My remarks were aimed at condemning caste disparities, that’s all,” he explained. Earlier, he emphasized that his comments should be understood in the context of caste hierarchies and accused the BJP of distorting his words in an attempt to divert attention from the growing opposition unity.
“I am prepared to face any legal actions they initiate against me. The BJP is anxious about the INDIA alliance, and to deflect attention from that, they are making these claims…” he stated, while the BJP sought responses from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and veteran Bihar politicians Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav. Udhayanidhi Stalin’s latest remarks come amidst a continuous barrage of attacks from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with senior leaders dubbing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin’s son as “Udhayanidhi Hitler” and characterizing the opposition INDIA alliance as “anti-Hindu.”
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Udhayanidhi Stalin’s political party, is in power in Tamil Nadu and is allied with the Congress, making it a member of the INDIA alliance.
The uproar over the “sanatana dharma must be eradicated” statement has intensified over the past few days, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah taking the lead. The senior BJP leader asserted that INDIA “hates Hinduism” and portrayed the opposition coalition as “an attack on our heritage.”
Other BJP leaders, including former Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who referred to the younger Stalin as “Hitler,” and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, have also criticized the statement.
Interestingly, the Congress party appears divided on this issue, with former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath distancing his party from Mr. Stalin’s remarks, which he described as “personal opinions.”
Notably, Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is in power following the collapse of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in March 2020, is set to hold elections later this year.
In Congress-ruled Karnataka, however, Minister Priyank Kharge expressed strong support for Mr. Stalin, asserting, “Any religion that does not provide equal rights… is as detrimental as a disease…”
Meanwhile, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, another key member of the INDIA alliance, has taken a clear stance against supporting Mr. Stalin and the DMK.
Ms. Banerjee, who recited scriptures ahead of the Bengal polls in response to BJP allegations of minority appeasement, stated, “One should avoid getting involved in matters that could hurt a particular section of the population.”
“I respect the people of Tamil Nadu and South India. But my humble request to them is to respect everyone, as every religion has its own sentiments,” she added.
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