NEW DELHI: The Congress today disapproved of remarks by its MP Shashi Tharoor that if the BJP is voted to power, it will pave the way for creation of a "Hindu Pakistan", and cautioned its leaders to choose words carefully while rejecting the saffron party's "hatred".
The comments came after Tharoor on Wednesday said while delivering a public lecture that India would become a Hindu Pakistan if the BJP came to power again in 2019.
"If they (BJP) are able to win a repeat of their current strength in the Lok Sabha, then frankly our democratic constitution as we understand will not survive because they will have all the three elements they need to tear up the Constitution of India and write a new one. That will be a new one which will enshrine the principle of Hindu Rashtra, will remove equality for minorities, that will create a Hindu Pakistan and that isn't what Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and great heroes of freedom struggle fought for," Tharoor reportedly said.
"Modi government thrives upon an unprecedented atmosphere of division, bigotry, hatred, intolerance and polarisation for last 4 years. Congress, on the other hand, represents India's civilisational values of pluralism, diversity, compassion and harmony between faiths and ethnicities. All Congress leaders must realise this historic responsibility bestowed upon us while choosing words and phraseology to reject BJP's hatred," Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala said.
He asserted that the Congress represents India's civilisational values of pluralism, diversity, compassion and harmony between faiths and ethnicities.
The BJP today demanded an apology from Congress president Rahul Gandhi over Tharoor's remarks and said the MP had insulted India's democracy and Hindus.
The BJP used Tharoor's comments to brand the Congress as 'anti-Hindu' and sought an apolgy from him. "Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed will become fan of the Congress after reading Tharoor's comments," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
As criticism mounted, Tharoor tried to explain his positon through a Facebook post saying he had been misconstrued. "The BJP/RSS idea of a Hindu Rashtra is the mirror image of Pakistan -- a state with a dominant majority religion that seeks to put its minorities in a subordinate place. That would be a Hindu Pakistan," he said.
In an attempt to control damage, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said every worker of the party should not be provoked by the BJPs polarizing and dividing statements and that every Indian knew the opposition party represented a pluralistic, multi religious, a multi linguistic society.
"Irrespective of the government which comes into power, Indian democracy will never allow India to become Pakistan. Today, India is far ahead of Pakistan and in this Congress has a very valuable contribution," Shergill added.
(With PTI inputs)