A day after a video clip showing Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam attending an event in Ambedkar Bhavan, where around 10,000 Hindus embraced Buddhism on October 5, caused a political storm, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said it is difficult to understand why Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “hates Hindus”.
“I really don’t understand the reason as to why Arvind Kejriwal and his gang hate Hindus and Hindutva so much? I can understand about Rahul Gandhi but Arvind Kejriwal…,” he tweeted.
In a series of tweets posted late on Friday night and on Saturday morning, Rijiju added, “Every Indian should follow the mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas’.”
In the video, Gautam is seen on stage as attendees take an oath that they would not pray to Hindu gods and goddesses such as Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Rama, Krishna, Gauri and Ganpati. These are part of the 22 vows B R Ambedkar had administered to his followers. The BJP had sought the minister’s resignation, saying the “conversion” event was a bid to spread disharmony in the city.
BJP national vice-president Baijayant Jay Panda said it is a matter of great sadness that “these political parties do their work with this kind of mentality”. “Kejriwal ji, your ministers are openly insulting Hindu deities and you are observing a silent fast. It only means that you (gave) full support for this religious conversion meeting,” he said.
Gautam hit back, saying that such comments showed the BJP’s anti-national mentality. In a statement later on Friday, he said: “I saw in the media today that BJP is spreading rumours about me. I am a very religious person. I personally respect all gods and goddesses and cannot even imagine disrespecting them through my work or speech. I have not said anything about anyone’s beliefs. I respect everyone’s beliefs. I spoke about education, health, employment, inflation and social equality in my speech. But BJP members are spreading rumours about me. I am very hurt by their actions. I apologise to those people who were hurt because of BJP’s propaganda.”