'BJP/RSS idea of a Hindu Rashtra is mirror image of Pakistan': Shashi Tharoor elaborates on his controversial comment

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor raised a storm on Thursday saying that if the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returns to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha Election, it will turn India into Hindu Pakistan. While the BJP went ballistic criticising the former minister and Congress, it didn't stop Tharoor from further stoking the flames.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Congress leader reiterated his statement saying that just like Pakistan was created by a state with a dominant religion where the minorities are discriminated against, the same will happen to India with the BJP/RSS idea of a Hindu Rashtra.

"That would be a Hindu Pakistan, and it is not what our freedom movement fought for, nor the idea of India enshrined in our Constitution," he said. He further stated that many proud Hindus like him have no desire to live, as our Pakistani neighbours are forced to, in an intolerant theocratic state.

According to Times Now, the Congress party has distanced itself from Tharoor's remarks. Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergil appealed to all Congress leaders and workers to be careful about their statements. "India's democracy is strong. And it will not allow her to become Pakistan. Governments will come and go, but India's constitution will not allow India to become Pakistan," Shergil added.

Addressing a gathering on 'Challenges to Indian Democracy and Secularism', Tharoor, according to ANI, had said, "If they (BJP) win a repeat in the Lok Sabha, our democratic constitution, as we understand it, will not survive as they will have all the elements they need to tear apart the Constitution of India and write a new one." He further alleged that BJP's "new" Constitution will remove equality for minorities.

Tharoor said that the BJP needs three things to achieve its plan — a two-thirds in the Lok Sabha, a two-thirds in the Rajya Sabha and half of the states. “As you know, they have two-thirds in the Lok Sabha and they have more than half the states. They have 20 states and coalitions in two others. The only thing they don’t have is a majority in the Rajya Sabha, but because they have so many state governments and because state assemblies elect the Rajya Sabha, you can be sure in 4-5 years, they will have a majority in the Rajya Sabha as well,” he said, according to The Indian Express.

"That new one (constitution) will be the one which will enshrine principles of Hindu Rashtra, that will remove equality for minorities, that’ll create a Hindu Pakistan and that isn’t what Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and great heroes of freedom struggle fought for,” he added, according to the report.

Meanwhile, former vice president Hamid Ansari backed Tharoor, he said that Tharoor is a learned man and whatever he says will be well thought of. "He has a right to make his own judgement," he said according to ANI .

Criticising Tharoor's statement, the BJP demanded Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s apology. Speaking to ANI, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “Rahul Gandhi must apologise for what Tharoor said. Congress was responsible for the creation of Pakistan because of its ambitions, yet again, it has gone ahead to demean India and defame Hindus of India.” Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Patra hit out at Tharoor and said he should not have displayed hatred towards Indians through his comment.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana also said that the voters will respond to Congress' "nonsense".

Tharoor has been a vocal critic of the BJP-led government at the Centre. In May, he had said that India was not safe in the hands of the BJP. "...unfortunately, the evidence we have seen in the last four years (of the NDA rule) does not suggest that this country is safe in the hands of the present government," he had said at a press conference in Lucknow.

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Updated Date: Jul 12, 2018 15:21:31 IST

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