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Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits is not communalism: Mani Shankar Aiyar

"If Rahul Gandhi regards himself and his family members as 'Shiv Bhakts' (devotees of Lord Shiva), what is wrong in that?" Aiyar said. "Can this be held as communalism? And the party which is propagating communalism is the saffron party (BJP)," he told

By: PTI | Bengaluru | Updated: February 5, 2018 8:05 pm
Rahul Gandhi, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Rahul Gandhi Temple Visits, Congress President Rahul Gandhi Temple Visits, Communalism, India News, Indian Express, Indian Express News “If Rahul Gandhi regards himself and his family members as ‘Shiv Bhakts’ (devotees of Lord Shiva), what is wrong in that?” Aiyar said. (File)

Suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar Monday said party president Rahul Gandhi’s visits to temples and assertion that he and his family members were “Shiv Bhakts” were not acts of communalism which, he alleged, was being propagated by the BJP. “If Rahul Gandhi regards himself and his family members as ‘Shiv Bhakts’ (devotees of Lord Shiva), what is wrong in that?” he asked.

“Can this be held as communalism? And the party which is propagating communalism is the saffron party (BJP),” Aiyar told PTI on the sidelines of a function here. Aiyar was asked about his opinion on Gandhi’s temple visits during the Gujarat assembly polls and reported plans to meet religious heads in poll-bound Karnataka this month.

The BJP had termed Gandhi’s frequent temple visits during the Gujarat election campaign as an attempt to attract Hindu votes. “My grandmother (late Indira Gandhi) and my family are Shiv Bhakts. But we keep such things private, because we think it is a very personal matter and we don’t need anyone else’s certificate about it,” Rahul Gandhi reportedly told traders in Gujarat ahead of the assembly polls.

Recalling that he had visited a number of temples along with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Aiyar said, “I used to go myself along with my friend Rajiv Gandhi because I am a believer. I did not impose this on any other human being.” Aiyar said if Rahul Gandhi wanted to visit a temple, he was entitled to do so. “If he wants to wear a sacred thread, he is entitled to do so,” he said.

“If I don’t worship cows, why should I stop others from worshipping? There is nothing wrong in personal religious belief, unless part of their belief is to put down somebody,” Aiyar said. Asked how soon the Congress could revoke his suspension from the party, Aiyar, a former Union minister, said, “It could be any time. It could be revoked in six hours. It could be revoked in six years, but someday I will be back in the Congress.”

He was suspended from the primary membership of the Congress on December 7 for his “neech” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Gujarat poll campaign.

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    Anandan
    Feb 14, 2018 at 4:15 am
    Where were these Siva bhakth,before their utter failer in the 2014 general election, before that his family is ashamed of calling them Hindus,and never they said they were Hindus.None of their family traditionally Hindu....,now after cheating Muslims now started the same game to cheat Hindu community..sorry pappu,you can't cheat all the people all the time..... !!!
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    1. Rangarajan Trivasaloor Sundaram
      Feb 7, 2018 at 9:18 am
      Mani shankar Aiyar is the most uncultured politician that this Nation has seen and it is a pity that he is found to be defending the Congress President who dumped him like a hot potato and this Aiyar was partly responsible for the BJP to get those extra seats in Gujarat which otherwise could have gone to the wire like a T 20 match. As a Brahmin we have no problem with this ponga pandit eating beef or anything that grows on this surface.He is also welcome to wear his Janeu on his shirt.The only thing we request him is to keep his wonderful opinions to himself and not blurt it out in the open.He has only been suspended not thrown out yet.
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      1. Ashish Uffa
        Feb 5, 2018 at 9:51 pm
        Dakkan!
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          Dr M.Pandey
          Feb 5, 2018 at 9:41 pm
          Is it not surprising that he never visited any temple in UP, just before the election only a few months back? Where was his Shiv Bhakti then? Do these politicians believe that the common people of India are brainless
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          1. S
            Sudish P
            Feb 5, 2018 at 9:39 pm
            Learn how to get back into congress from Aiyar
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