Congress Party leader Shashi Tharoor, who is no stranger to controversy, has triggered another one. This time, it is his remarks about the Ram Temple that have come under fire. Given that the Congress Party is attempting to court Hindus ahead of the 2019 general election, some even say practicing soft Hindutva, Tharoor's remarks appear particularly ill-timed.
While speaking at the Hindu Lit For Life Dialogue 2018 on the topic 'India: Issues and Opportunities," Tharoor reportedly said that "no good Hindu would want to see the Ram Temple built by demolishing somebody else's place of worship."
"I think we have to brace ourselves for some more unpleasantness in the months to come because there has been a correlation, in the not so distant past, between the advent of elections and the stoking of religious passions, communal rioting. That's indeed my worry," he said, as quoted by The Hindu.
Tharoor's remark has triggered a flurry of criticism, with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders coming out against the Lok Sabha lawmaker from Thiruvananthapuram.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar was quoted by ANI as saying, "This shows how cutoff they are from reality and how they only become Hindu during elections."
BJP leader and Rajya Sabha lawmaker Subramanian Swamy was quoted by ANI as saying, "Woh neech aadmi hai." "He is no authority on Hindu. He has led a life which has nothing to with Hinduism. He is arrogating to himself spiritual powers or powers of religious authority. He has lost is balance," Swamy said, The Times of India reported.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that Tharoor's remarks exposed the "real face" of Rahul Gandhi.
Tharoor today hit back and said views expressed were his own.
I condemn the malicious distortion of my words by some media in the service of political masters. I said: "most Hindus would want a temple at what they believe to be Ram's birthplace. But no good Hindu would want it to be built by destroying another's place of worship."— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 15, 2018