New Delhi: Veteran Congress leader C.P. Joshi was on Friday asked to apologise by party chief Rahul Gandhi for his controversial comment that “only Brahmins know enough to talk about Hinduism,” directly targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Gandhi slammed Joshi’s remarks as “casteist” and asked him to express regret.
Joshi had reportedly said that Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Uma Bharti and Hindu activist Sadhvi Ritambhara belonged to lower castes and thus knew nothing of Hinduism.
“Uma Bharti is a Lodhi, and she talks about Hinduism, Modi 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 but it is only the Brahmins who are learned and know of Hinduism,” Joshi had said while addressing a public gathering in Rajasthan on Thursday.
Our party leaders should not give any statement that hurts any section of the society. I am sure Joshi ji will realise his mistake, keeping the party’s principles in mind. His remark is contrary to Congress party’s ideals.
He further alleged that BJP leaders behaved as if they were authority on Hinduism.
“They say a Congress person 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 Brahmins. BJP is just misguiding the people by such moves,” Joshi had remarked.
Reacting to this, Gandhi said that Joshi’s statement was against the ideals of Congress party.
“Our party leaders should not give any statement that hurts any section of the society. I am sure Joshi ji will realise his mistake, keeping the party’s principles in mind. His remark is contrary to Congress party’s ideals. He should express regret over his remarks,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
Joshi, a prominent Brahmin face of Congress, later accused BJP of twisting his statement and condemned its “fabricated use.”
“I strongly condemn the fabricated use of my statement by BJP. I did not mean to offend anyone,” he tweeted.
However, he later apologised for his comment in a tweet.
“Out of respect for the Congress beliefs and workers’ sentiments, I apologise if my comments hurt any section of the society,” he tweeted hours later.
Joshi is contesting the legislative assembly election from Nathdwara district of Rajasthan. Polls for Rajasthan assembly will be held on December seven.
Meanwhile, BJP legislator Harsh Sanghavi said the statement made by Joshi “was shameful, to say the least.”
“Shameful statement by Congress Leader C.P. Joshi! It implies [he is asking] what does a lower caste person like Prime Minister Narendra Modi know about Hinduism as only Brahmins are true custodians of Hinduism,” Sanghavi said on Friday.
A day earlier, Joshi had claimed that only a Congress PM can build the Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
“It was late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who opened the lock of the Babri mosque premises and allowed religious rites inside the disputed structure at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. Thus only a Congress PM can get the temple built,” he said.