Thursday, 12 Jul, 6.41 am Deccan Herald

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Cong disapproves of Tharoor's 'Hindu Pak' remark

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor kicked off a controversy by claiming that a BJP victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls would turn India into a Hindu Pakistan.

The BJP pounced on the remarks to put the Congress in the dock.

Addressing an event in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, Tharoor said if the BJP is re-elected, the rights of minorities would be trampled, making India a "Hindu Pakistan".

An all-out attack against Tharoor by the BJP pushed the Congress to a corner, prompting it to tick off the former Union minister to choose his words carefully.

"Congress leaders first talked about saffron terror, then Hindu terror and not Hindu Pakistan. What would one say about such thinking?" asked BJP national general secretary Ram Lal.

Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore hit out at Tharoor saying the Congress leader was "hallucinating". "I think this is withdrawal symptoms of the fact that neither they are in power nor do they see power coming to them again," said Rathore.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra attacked the Congress for "defaming" Hindus and demanded an apology from Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

"I would request Congress leaders to choose their words carefully and exercise caution," Congress spokesman Jaiveer Shergill told reporters when asked to comment on Tharoor's remarks.

Tharoor stuck to his remarks contending that the BJP/RSS idea of a "Hindu Rashtra" was the mirror image of Pakistan - a state with a dominant majority religion that sought to put its minorities in a subordinate place.

"Many proud Hindus like myself cherish the inclusive nature of our faith and have no desire to live, as our Pakistani neighbours are forced to, in an intolerant theocratic state. We want to preserve India and not turn our beloved country into a Hindu version of Pakistan," Tharoor said in a statement after BJP went out all guns blazing against him.

Tharoor received support from former vice president Hamid Ansari. "He (Tharoor) is a learned man whatever he says will be well thought of. He has a right to make his own judgement," Ansari said.