The Congress leader defended Rahul Gandhi's temple visits and said that it was wrong to see these as some sort of 'political opportunism.'
Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s visits to temples have been criticised heavily by the BJP as photo-op events and political opportunism. On the other hand, the Congress president has remained undeterred, showcasing his faith and belief in public and paying visits to as many temples and shrines as possible.
The unseen acts by Congress chief, dubbed as ‘soft Hindutva’ by many, have also taken political observers by surprise and has often given rise to questions on why the Congress had to experiment with this new strategy.
On Sunday, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was questioned on the same during the Times Lit Fest 2018. The Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram explained that his partymen always had religious beliefs but never felt the need to showcase them the as they have been followers of Nehruvian secularism. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party started using this purported discretion as a battle between true Hindus and godless secularists, Tharoor said.
Tharoor explained that in a country where religion has its roots very deep, secularists are always bound to lose the debate. “So we decided that it was time for us to avow our faith,” Tharoor said at the Times event.
The Congress leader further defended Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits and said that it was wrong to see these as some sort of ‘political opportunism.’ He said that Gandhi used to talk about religion and spirituality way before he was photographed in the temples.
Tharoor also defended his statement praising Modi after the mandate of 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He said that his statement was to pay respect to people’s mandate.
Tharoor’s statement comes amid a high decibel political battle between the Congress and the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh elections. However, Congress lawmaker’s reply at the event didn’t offer an explanation on Congress’ manifesto promises related to religious activities like building gaushalas (cowshed) in every gram panchayat, set up new adhyatmik vibhag (department for spirituality) and opening new Sanskrit schools.