MUMBAI: A day after Indian political party Congress, leader Shashi Tharoor remarked that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will turn India into “Hindu Pakistan” if it wins the 2019 Lok Sabha election, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra expressed his displeasure and demanded an apology from Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, reported Indian media outlet Firstpost.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Patra hit out at Tharoor and said he should not have displayed hatred towards Indians through his comment. “Shashi Tharoor is the same person who called Indians ‘cattle-class’. He is ‘cattle-class-ing’ the Indian democracy. You call yourself an educated and erudite spokesperson of the Congress. If you want to love Pakistan, do so, but do not display such hatred towards Indians,” he said.
At an event in Kerala, Tharoor had said on Wednesday: “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.
Citing instances of other Congress leaders who recently found themselves embroiled in controversy over comments on Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Pakistan, Patra said the Congress party was “failing”.
“Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Indian Army is killings civilians, not terrorists. He did it because he just wanted to castigate the Narendra Modi government. Mani Shankar Aiyar went to Pakistan and said the Modi’s government needed to be toppled. Saifuddin Soz said Kashmiris want ‘azaadi‘. The Congress party is failing. This is not healthy politics, Rahul Gandhi. If you want to say something or question us, do it democratically,” he said.
Patra further said it was an insult to compare India’s democracy to Pakistan’s. “And you (Shashi Tharoor) go and compare our democracy to Pakistan’s? Thanks to the Congress party, we have black patches in our history, such as the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi which lasted for almost two years,” he said.
Training his guns on Gandhi, Patra said the Congress was creating an atmosphere of fear and hatred. “Rahuj ji, you have begun hating the people of this country. What is more disheartening is that you show hatred for Hindus.”
“Following Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks, Congress was certified by the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and Hafiz Saeed. If you (Gandhi) keep making such comments, your only fans will be Pakistan and Hafiz Saeed,” said Patra.
Patra also asked Gandhi to stop “fear-mongering”. “Stop this fear-mongering, Rahul Gandhi. India is not going to take this easily. You have constantly been sowing fear-mongering,” he said, adding it was “shameful to denigrate one’s own democracy”.
Patra then went on to demand an apology from Gandhi and issued a caveat that the latter not “insult” Hindus again. “He should not just apologise but also explain why every leader from the party says such things. The Congress just says it is the leader’s personal view, not the party. Why don’t you (Gandhi) clarify what the Congress party is?” he asked.
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 said at a press conference in Lucknow.
During an interactive event in Mumbai in April, Tharoor accused the ruling BJP of “wounding” India’s soul by “unleashing forces of intolerance, hatred, and bigotry”. He also said that Hindutva is a political ideology of the BJP which has nothing to do with religion.