Veteran Congressman and three-time Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has claimed that he was a “real” Hindu and that those in the BJP were “fake” and were only contractors out to protect Hinduism.
“I am real Hindu. They (BJP) are all fake Hindus who are self-proclaimed contractors of saving Hinduism,” Gogoi said while releasing the Congress party’s manifesto for the Assam assembly elections on Thursday.
Dismissing the BJP-RSS brand of Hinduism, Gogoi also said that while different communities of Assam had their own respective gods and goddesses, the BJP and RSS were trying to impose only their “brand”.
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“Communities in Assam have their respective different deities, gods and goddesses. Hinduism has thousands of gods and goddesses. Yet, the BJP and RSS are trying to impose their own brand of Hinduism which the people do not like. Our real Hinduism does not teach us to hate other faiths. The Assamese brand of Hinduism has taught us to be secular and tolerant. Assamese Hindus do not despise people of other faiths,” Gogoi said.
Accusing the BJP and RSS of practicing Hinduism only in the interest of votes and power, the octogenarian Congress leader said the Hindu religion did not ask its followers to demolish the Babri Masjid. “Hinduism never called for demolishing the Babri Masjid. They (BJP) did it for votes and capturing power,” he alleged.
Also hitting out at Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF, Gogoi said Ajmal too was not real Muslim. “Ajmal is not real Muslim. Islam does not say Hinduism is bad. He (Ajmal) is talking Islam in order to get votes, nothing else,” he said.
Himanta was “shani”
Gogoi also described his once most trusted lieutenant and now top BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma with “shani” and said that while the “shani” was with him for a few years, it had now shifted to the BJP’s side. Sarma, who was Gogoi’s right-hand man for several years and used to call the shots on the chief minister’s behalf, had left the Congress to be appointed the election campaign chief of the BJP.
“Yes, I was under the spell of shani for several years. When it was with us there were a lot of problems in the Congress. Now that the shani has left us and joined the BJP, the Congress has become free of the shani’s spell,” Gogoi said.
The veteran chief minister also blamed himself for giving a lot of indulgence to Himanta Biswa Sarma. “Yes, I am also to be blamed. I gave lot of importance to him. I even helped him despite his past in which he had TADA cases and an association with ULFA. That is why god has given me some amount of punishment. But with shani leaving us and joining the BJP, the Congress has become free of all sins. The shani is now hanging on the BJP’s neck,” he said.