NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday alleged that Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Digvijaya Singh had "suddenly" discovered religiosity and said elections are a "convenient season for all the neo-converts".
In a blog post "A Convenient Season for Being a 'Proud Hindu'" Jaitley also targeted Aam Aadmi Party, saying one of its Lok Sabha candidates in Delhi had started wearing "not only her religion but her caste, her father's caste and her husband's caste on her sleeve".
Jaitley termed Singh, Congress candidate from Bhopal, as "a well-known majority basher" and alleged that he holds the patent for manufacturing the theory of 'Hindu Terror.' "He took it to illogical conclusion till the whole theory was busted. Today, realising the wrath of the electorate, he has become 'proud' of his Hindu credentials," Jaitley said.
"Religiosity is suddenly being discovered. Majority bashing has been replaced by a self-proclaimed title of a 'proud Hindu' or even a 'Punjabi Hindu Kshatriya'. Today, even atheist will wear their religion and caste on their sleeves. Elections, after all, are a convenient season for all the neo-converts," he said.
Jaitley said that Vishwa Hindu Parishad distributed stickers in the late eighties and early nineties which became a launching pad for its slogan 'Garv se kaho ham Hindu hain (say proudly we are Hindus)' and barring the BJP, a few other groups endorsed it with others denouncing this slogan as symbol of communalism".
"I am sure those still active in the VHP from that era would have had the last laugh when the Congress leader and its candidate from Bhopal, Digvijaya Singh, felt compelled to publicly announce 'I too am a proud Hindu'", Jaitley said.
He said a fundamental disagreement with Nehruvian secularism, as practised in the 1950s, was that "Panditji believed that Hinduism was old fashioned, fundamentalist and obscurantist, he believed that it stood in the way of developing a scientific temperament".
"These politics continued for decades. In a multi-cornered election, parties like the SP, the BSP, the RJD and, of late, even the TMC, went a step further of the Congress. They created fear in the minds of minorities and endeavoured to develop a vote combination of a specific caste or a group and that of the Muslim minority. They owed their survival to this polarisation," Jaitley said.
He said party leader L.K. Advani undertook a significant attempt to dissent from this practice in the eighties and nineties and strongly argued against a theocratic state, equality for minorities. "But his larger point was that secularism can no longer become a euphemism for majority bashing. He argued his case in modern vocabulary. A large part of India started seeing a rationale in this".
He said the socio-economic profile of India changed slowly, consolidating and enlarging India's middle-class which is "aspirational, as strong concern on national security, is religiously inclined but not communal". "At the same time, it will not accept majority bashing as the definition of secularism".
"The attitude of this class towards national security-related issues such as terrorism and special status of Jammu & Kashmir, is extremely strong. At the same time, its reaction on both Ayodhya and Sabarimala is self-evident. This has created fear of the backlash in the minds of those who conventionally indulged in majority bashing and were compromising on issues of national security," Jaitley said.
Referring to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said Congress has suddenly decided to proclaim its President as 'Janeu-dhari Brahmin' without getting into the larger issue of whether a person can inherit his grandmother's caste.
The BJP leader said that Gandhi's stance on national security is highly questionable and he had visited JNU in support of those who raised slogans about breaking India. "He has, till date, not explained his presence at JNU".
Jaitley said Digvijaya Singh had claimed that the Batla House encounter during the UPA Government was "a fake one" and "carried on a campaign in support of the terrorists and against the security forces".
"He even visited Azamgarh to meet the relatives of the deceased or arrested terrorists."
Referring to AAP, he said its leaders supported those who raised the highly objectionable slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Jaitley said that the party's sympathy "for the jehadis and separatists is apparent".
He said hypocrisy of AAP climaxed when, in the last few days, its only lady candidate from Delhi, shed her family legacy "of ultra-Left leaning parents, who were important interlocutors seeking a pardon for Afzal Guru, and started wearing not only her religion but her caste, her father's caste and her husband's caste on her sleeve".
"I was wondering as to why those brought up in an atheist environment, for political convenience, start displaying their religion and caste publicly," he said.