Udhayanidhi’s ‘eradicate Sanatan Dharma’ remark leaves Congress divided

Tamil Nadu minister and son of chief minister MK Stalin, Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remark on Sanatan Dharma has cooked up a storm with Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders slamming Congress, and its leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge of keeping quiet on the matter.

While Tamil Nadu Congress leader Nana Patole had distanced the party from Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks saying that the Congress party respects all religions and does not want to make any comments that could hurt anyone’s sentiments, the principal opposition party on Monday stressed that others also have the freedom to express their views.

Congress supports Udhayanidhi’s claims

AICC general secretary K C Venugopal said while the Congress’ stand is clear, every other political party has the freedom to express its own view.

“Actually, our view is very clear – ‘Sarvadharma Sambhav’ (equal respect to all religions) is the Congress ideology. But, you have to understand that every political party has its own freedom to tell their views,” he said.

“We are respecting everybody’s beliefs,” the Congress leader said.

While Venugopal harped on freedom of expression Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s son and Karnataka MLA Priyank Kharge supported Stalin’s claims.

Kharge said any religion that does not give equal rights is not a religion and “is as good as a disease”.

“Any religion that does not promote equality, any religion that doesn’t ensure that you have the dignity of being a human being is not a religion, according to me. So it is as good as a disease,” Priyank Kharge said.

“Congress believes in the Constitution…We are equal in the eyes of God. BJP’s own allies have disrespected Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman, they are nobody to distribute certificates of either nationalism or devotion,” Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said

Congress leader and former Union minister Karan Singh, however, termed the DMK leader’s statement as “preposterous” and “most unfortunate”.

“Thiru Udhayanidhi’s preposterous statement that Sanatan Dharma should be eradicated is most unfortunate. Crores of people in this country follow, to a lesser or greater extent the tenets of Sanatan Dharma.

“Besides, the greatest Sanatan Dharma temples in the world are in Tamil Nadu – in Thanjavur, in Srirangam, in Thiruvannamalai, in Chidambaram, in Madurai, in Suchindram, in Rameshwaram and many more,” Singh said in a statement.

“It is shocking that a responsible politician should make this kind of a totally unacceptable statement. I have the highest regard for the magnificent Tamil culture but I take strong objection to the statement made by Thiru Udhayanidhi,” he said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Priyanka Chaturvedi attacked the BJP, accusing it of showing “fake concern” over Sanatan Dharm for its politics and termed it as hypocrisy.

“Sanatan Dharm stands for eternal truth – the way to live life- the conscience & being. Sanatanis have long withstood attacks by invaders to end their identity yet they have not just survived but thrived.

“The country’s bedrock, which is linked to Sanatan Dharm, has been of inclusiveness of all faiths and identities. Anyone making derogatory comments against it is ignorant of what it stands for,” she said on X.

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