Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Friday strongly disapproved party leader CP Joshi’s reported statement that appeared to suggest that only Brahmins could speak about Hindus.
CP Joshi’s statement, Gandhi said, was against the ideals of the Congress party and told him to express regret. “Party leaders should not give any statement that hurt any section of the society… I am sure Joshi ji will realise his mistake, keeping party’s principles in mind,” Gandhi said on Twitter
The apology came soon after. Joshi, who had accused the BJP of twisting his statement and condemned its “fabricated use”, also tweeted his regret. The Congress president’s swift and public censure for his senior Rajasthan leader’s statement is grounded in the assessment that it could give the ruling BJP a handle to target the Congress in the middle of the Rajasthan campaign that goes to polls on December 7.
Ahead of the 2014 elections, a comment by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar deriding Narendra Modi as a tea seller had contributed significantly to PM Modi’s sweep. Last year too, BJP had turned Aiyar’s reference to the PM as a ‘neech aadmi’ into a campaign around Gujarat’s pride.
Gandhi’s reproach for the former Rajasthan Congress chief came after a video of Joshi surfaced on Thursday in which he is heard saying that only pandits and brahmins knew about Hinduism and were learned enough to speak about it. “They say a Congressi can’t be a Hindu, who gave them the authority to issue certificates? Have they opened a university? If anyone knows about religion then its pandits/brahmins. They are just misguiding the people by such moves”.
“Uma Bharti is a Lodhi, and she talks about Hinduism, Modi ji talks about Hinduism. It is only Brahmins who don’t talk about it. The country is being misled. Religion and governance are two different things. Everyone has the right to practice their religion,” he said while addressing a public gathering in his hometown Nathdwara on Wednesday, according to news agency ANI.
A professor of psychology who turned to politics, CP Joshi was credited with contributing to the party winning the December 2008 Rajasthan assembly elections.