DMK leader Udhyanidhi Stalin, who is the son of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, had called for eradication of Sanatan Dharma – on the lines of diseases like malaria, dengue and coronavirus – for its alleged divisiveness and lack of equality. Going a step forward, another DMK leader A Raja likened Sanatan Dharma to disease like leprosy that had social stigma.
These remarks put the INDIA parties under a tight spot as the BJP immediately linked it to the agenda of the opposition alliance and said the decision to attack Sanatan Dharma was finalised at its third meeting in Mumbai.
The Prime Minister who had earlier asked his party leaders to counter Stalin’s remarks on Sanatan Dharma, today led the attack himself tearing into the opposition alliance over the issue.
The Prime Minister invoked Mahatma Gandhi and other freedom fighters to slam the opposition and urged “every follower of Sanatan Dharma in every nook and corner of the country and the nation-lovers to be watchful against the Ghamandiya alliance.”
“Mahatma Gandhi drew inspiration from Sanatan Dharma and his struggle for freedom was centred around it, the prime minister further said. Gandhi followed Sanatan Dharma all his life and his last words were “Hey Ram”, Modi noted. Great historical personalities like Indore ruler Ahilyabai Holkar, Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, Swami Vivekananda and Lokmanya Tilak also drew inspiration from Sanatan Dharma,” the Prime Minister said at a rally in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.
‘Ghamandiya vs GA-NDA’
The Congress avoided reacting to PM’s Sanatan Dharma attacks, but slammed him for using every government function to abuse the opposition.
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said that the PM did what he does at his best – insult.
The PM is back to doing what he does best—insult. He repeated his abuse of INDIA parties as so-called Ghamandia parties.
Look, who’s talking! The man who uses the occasion of a govt function to abuse the Opposition. Stooping to his level, one could easily say he heads the GA-NDA…
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 14, 2023
Responding to PM Modi’s Ghamandiya coalition jibe, the Congress leader said PM Modi heads a “GA-NDA” coalition.
“Look, who’s talking! The man who uses the occasion of a govt function to abuse the Opposition. Stooping to his level, one could easily say he heads the GA-NDA coalition—Gautam Adani’s NDA,” Ramesh said in a post on X.
‘INDIA avoids comment on row’
The INDIA bloc is yet to officially respond to PM Modi’s blistering attack on their alliance over the Sanatan Dharma row. The first meeting of the coordination committee of INDIA that met on Wednesday in Mumbai did not make any comments on the controversy.
However, several parties of the alliance like the Aam Aadmi Party, the Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party have already distanced themselves from the DMK leader’s remark and said that it did not represent the stand of the INDIA bloc.
The Congress, which first dismissed Stalin’s remarks as opinion of the DMK, later appealed not to mix religion with politics. However, the BJP has been unsparing in its attack on the Congress demanding that the grand old party clarify its stand on Stalin’s remarks.
The BJP has questioned the silence of the Gandhis on the issue and accused the Congress and its allies of humiliating the Hindus.
With PM Modi taking the attack to the opposition camp and making it a poll issue in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where elections are due later this year, the INDIA parties, especially the Congress, will have to find a way to counter the impact.