A viral video of Delhi’s social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam has sparked a major political controversy. The video shows the AAP minister on the stage during an October 5 event in which around 10,000 Hindus embraced Buddhism. Delhi BJP slammed Gautam for attending the event and has demanded Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to sack the social welfare minister from his government. A PTI report says that some in the Aam Aadmi Party feel that Kejriwal is ‘extremely displeased’ with Gautam. However, the party has not made any public statement so far.
Gautam attended the Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din, a yearly event that marks BR Ambedkar’s conversion to Lord Buddha’s faith in October 1956.
The minister had also tweeted the pictures from the event, saying more than 10,000 people pledged to join Buddhism and work for making India free from casteism and untouchability.
BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia accused the AAP of hurting the sentiments of Hindus and alleged that “Gautam’s comments highlight the hate” the party has for the community”. He further claimed that the minister’s alleged comments were made at the behest of CM Kejriwal.
The Delhi unit of BJP tweeting the video, accused the AAP minister of “spewing venom”.
“See, how Kejriwal’s minister is spewing venom against Hindus. The anti-Hindu face of Kejriwal and AAP has come in front of everyone. The public will soon give a fitting reply to the anti-Hindu AAP. Have some shame, Kejriwal,” the Delhi BJP wrote in a tweet.
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta said at a press conference that Gautam showed “disrespect” towards Hindu deities. “This is not an isolated incident, it is in the character of the AAP to insult and disrespect Hindu gods and goddesses. We demand Kejriwal immediately expel Gautam from his Cabinet,” Gupta said, as quoted by PTI.
BJP MP Manoj Tiwari demanded that the minister must be sacked, alleging that his action could lead to disharmony between two communities.
The event was organised by the Jai Bheem Mission, founded by Gautam, where nearly 7,000 people, mostly Dalits, embraced Buddhism. In attendance was Ambedkar’s great-grandnephew Rajratna Ambedkar, latest reports say.
(With PTI inputs)