Stepping up his attack on the BJP during an interaction with students and academics in Paris on Saturday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said there is nothing “Hindu” about BJP’s actions and asserted that the ruling party is out to grab power at any cost.
The session was moderated by Professor Christophe Jaffrelot, director of the Centre of International Studies, and chaired by Arancha Gonzalez, dean of the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences PO University, Paris.
“INDIA, Bharat Jodo Yatra, Geo-politics, Cronyism and other national & global issues - An engaging conversation with the students and faculty at Sciences PO University, Paris, France,” Mr. Gandhi said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) while releasing the video of his interaction on Sunday.
The former Congress chief said that the Opposition was committed to fighting for the “soul of India” and the country would “come out just fine from the current turbulence”.
“I have read the Gita, I have read a number of Upanishads, I have read many Hindu books; there is nothing Hindu about what the BJP does, absolutely nothing,” Mr. Gandhi asserted in response to a question about the rise of “Hindu nationalism”.
“I have not read anywhere, in no Hindu book, from no learned Hindu person have I ever heard that you should terrorise, harm people who are weaker than you. So, this idea, this word, Hindu nationalists, this is a wrong word. They are not Hindu nationalists. They have nothing to do with Hinduism. They are out to get power at any cost, and they will do anything to get power… They want dominance of a few people and that is what they are about. There is nothing Hindu about them,” the Congress leader added.
His comments come at a time when the BJP has tried to corner the Congress over comments made about Sanatana Dharma by DMK leaders like Udhayanidhi Stalin and A. Raja and accused Opposition parties of insulting the Hindu religion.
Mr. Gandhi also asserted that 60% of India voted for the Opposition parties while just 40% voted for the ruling party.
“So this idea that the majority community is voting for the BJP, this is a wrong idea. The majority community actually vote more for us than they vote for them,” he noted.
On India-Bharat row, the Congress leader said that the Constitution defines the country as “India that is Bharat, a Union of States”.
“So, these States have come together to form India or Bharat. The most important thing is that the voice of all the people who are included in these States is heard loud and clear and no voice is crushed or intimidated,” he said.
The Congress leader had a similar interaction at INALCO University in Paris before moving on to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
As part of his outreach programme, organised by the Indian Overseas Congress, Mr. Gandhi is on a tour of Europe and has so far interacted with members of European Parliament and held a press interaction at Brussels before his engagements in Paris.