Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on Thursday reacted for the first time in public about DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin's remark to eradicate 'Sanatan Dharma'. Though Modi made a delayed response to Udhayanidhi's comment, it was quick when it compared to his month-long dire silence over the violence in the BJP-ruling state of Manipur.
Udhayanidhi Stalin's remarks of likening Sanatan Dharma to the deadly diseases of malaria, dengue, and Covid and calling to eradicate Sanatan Dharma instead of opposing it had sparked a fury from the BJP leaders and Hindutva loyalists. Even some top BJP ministers including Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh had given more national popularity to Udhayanidhi Stalin under the guise of attacking him and the opposition INDIA coalition, which comprises DMK.
All these BJP leaders targeted Udhayanidhi Stalin in the election campaigns in the assembly poll-bound states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. As the BJP aims to woo its Hindu voters, Udhayanidhi's 'eradicate Sanatan Dharma' remark had become a talking point for the BJP leaders, in an attempt to sow a sentiment among the voters that the opposition alliance is threatening Hinduism.
Several opinion polls have shown that there is a fat chance that BJP could win in these two states and the political observers say that the BJP's campaign against Udhayanidhi's Sanatan Dharma remark is part of a political game to cover up the saffron party's divisive and controversial politics. Joining the trend of attacking the opposition over the Sanatan Dharma row is none other than Prime Minister Modi himself.
Earlier, Modi said to his council of ministers that the DMK leader's remarks needed a proper response. Now, he has come before the general public and reacted to the remark for the first time. On Thursday, Modi was addressing a public rally in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar district during which he reffered to the opposition INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) as 'INDI alliance' and claimed that the opposition bloc is threatening to destroy Sanatan Dharma.
He said, "A few groups are working to divide the country and society. They have come together to form an INDI alliance. They have also decided on a hidden agenda to attack India's culture. The INDI alliance has come with a resolution to end Sanatan culture." Modi went on to claim that Sanatan Dharma has been a source of inspiration for many people and that the call for the eradication of Sanatan Dharma has crossed a line.
He has issued an alert to the people who follow Sanatan Dharma that they will be attacked by the opposition. Modi said, "Today, they have openly started targeting Sanatana, tomorrow, they will increase the attacks on us. All Sanatanis across the country and the people who love our country will have to be alert. We will have to stop such people." Earlier on Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that Sanatan Dharma is the Rashtriya (national) religion and that it cannot be eradicated by those who live for power.
Several legal cases have been filed against Udhayanidhi Stalin in North Indian states following his Sanatan Dharma remark. On Tuesday, the Mira Road police in Maharashtra had filed an FIR against Udhayanidhi following a complaint over his remarks on Sanatan Dharma. The case was filed under the grounds of insulting religious beliefs and promoting enmity between different groups. The complainant said that Udhayanidhi had hurt the sentiments and religious feelings. It is pertinent to note that earlier, a Hindu seer in Ayodhya had announced Rs 10 crore bounty for Udhayanidhi's head for his remark against Sanatan Dharma.