Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on September 17 dubbed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as a "chunavi Hindu" (Hindu for election purposes) and claimed the reaction of the Opposition bloc INDIA would have been different if remarks were made against another religion instead of Sanatana Dharma.
Recently, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders Udhayanidhi Stalin and A. Raja claimed Sanatana Dharma had sown divisions in society and must be eradicated on the lines of diseases like dengue, malaria and coronavirus.
Addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party's 'Jan Ashirwad Yatra' event in Narsinghpur district, Mr. Sarma said Sanatana Dharma has existed over the past 5,000 years because of the penance of several crore people.
"Sanatana Dharma will remain till the existence of sun and moon. Hindus are tolerant. The Congress and INDIA bloc are terming it [anti-Sanatana Dharma statements] as freedom of expression. But if someone had commented about Muslims then he would have been expelled overnight by the Congress and its allies," Mr. Sarma claimed.
The BJP doesn't want anyone to speak against Muslims but they (Opposition parties) must also not speak against Sanatana Dharma and Hindus, the Assam Chief Minister asserted.
"We respect all religions and believe in “Sarvdharam Sambhav“ [amity among all religions]," he said.
Mocking Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Sarma asked the gathering if they had seen the Congress leader visiting temples during the campaign for the 2018 Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls.
Terming Mr. Gandhi a "chunavi Hindu", Mr. Sarma claimed the former did not visit temples after the Congress won the polls "because there was no devotion in his heart".
The Congress had formed a government in 2018 under Kamal Nath but it fell in March 2020 after a rebellion by MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia.
He also said he could not understand how Congress could object to the Uniform Civil Code when the move was for the larger good of society.
If asked whether the BJP was bigger or the nation, a BJP leader would always say it is the country but a Congressman would stutter if he is asked whether the country is bigger or the Gandhi family, Mr. Sarma claimed.
He also mocked the Opposition bloc INDIA and said someone would not become Mahatma Gandhi or Subhash Chandra Bose just because he shares their names.
Terming MP Congress president Kamal Nath as a "tired face", Mr. Sarma said the former chief minister was a duplicate Hanuman devotee.
Mr. Sarma claimed he was in the Congress for 22 years but never saw Mr. Nath showing "Hanuman bhakti".
Mr. Sarma said he had visited MP as a Congressman during the chief ministership of Digvijaya Singh and had seen only potholed roads, while the State was now a developed one and no longer "BIMARU" due the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Earlier, talking to reporters in Jabalpur, he said the BJP doesn't have a monopoly over Hindus.
Mr. Sarma said Rahul Gandhi had an opportunity to tell the DMK leaders to take back their statements, adding that the Congress leader must do something for Hindus at least once in his life.
Mr. Gandhi would have become "Hindu hriday samrat" (king of Hindu hearts) if he had got the Congress to snap ties with the DMK over the anti-Sanatana Dharma remarks, Mr. Sarma said.
Mr. Sarma also addressed a gathering in Katni district earlier in the day.