THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor triggered a controversy with his statement that the BJP would convert India into a ‘Hindu Pakistan’ if it retains power at the Centre in 2019. While the BJP demanded an apology from the Congress, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said he would stick to his comment.
Speaking on ‘The threats faced by Indian democracy and secularism’ here the other day, Tharoor said if BJP were given a mandate again, it will tear the Constitution and create a new one that converts the country into Hindu Pakistan.
“The only thing that stood in their way was the lack of a two-third majority in Rajya Sabha,” Tharoor had said. He added the stalwarts of the Sangh Parivar — V D Savarkar, M S Golwalkar and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya — wanted the Indian constitution to be discarded stating it was full of Western ideas written by Anglophone lawyers in the wrong language.
“They said the Constitution assumed nation of India as a territory, which is wrong. Nation is people and the people are Hindus. The rest are essentially guests of interlopers. They consider Muslims and Christians bandits and dacoits,” he said.
The BJP came out strongly against the statement and called for Congress president Rahul Gandhi to tender an apology. Its spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged the Congress was responsible for the creation of Pakistan and added the same party was now insulting Hindus and India.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, taking a dig at Tharoor, said in a tweet all the Congress leaders who criticise the BJP should remember the historical responsibility the Congress party has.
He said in the past four years of its rule, the BJP has created an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance in the country, while the Congress was upholding India’s virtues of secularism, unity in diversity and pluralism.
On Thursday, Tharoor said as long as the BJP continues with its idea of Hindu Rashtra, there was no point in apologising.
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Pakistan was created as a state with a dominant religion that discriminates against its minorities and denies them equal rights. “India never accepted the logic that had partitioned the country. But the BJP/RSS idea of a Hindu Rashtra is the mirror image of Pakistan. 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.
“Many proud Hindus like me cherish the inclusive nature of our faith and have no desire to live in an intolerant theocratic state as our Pakistani neighbours are forced to do. We want to preserve India and not turn our beloved country into a Hindu version of Pakistan,” said Tharoor.