Inside story: Udhayanidhi's Sanatan Dharma remark, BJP's fake news, and how the opposition reacted to it!

The BJP's high command, which remained a mute spectator for a long time for the accusations from the DMK and Udhayanidhi Stalin over the shocking scams revealed by the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) and over the NEET issue, has quickly reacted when Udhayanidhi called for the eradication of Sanatan Dharma. Several senior leaders including Amit Shah had made a swift and furious response against the DMK leader. 

While addressing an event 'End Sanatana Dharma' in Chennai, Udhayanidhi Stalin had likened Sanatan Dharma to malaria and dengue and that it should not be opposed, but should be eradicated. As his remarks had gone viral and irked the top BJP leaders than the allegations of corruptions, the saffron party has resorted to fake news through which it had orchestrated nationwide tensions and divide. Shockingly, such tensions had gone beyond the political lines that they had incited seers and general public to voice against the DMK leader. 

Responding to Udhayanidhi Stalin, BJP's IT head Amit Malviya has directed a fake news that opened gates for a deluge of hateful comments. Taking to social media, Malviya distorted Udhayanidhi's speech and claimed that he has called for a genocide of 80% population of Bharat. Malviya wrote, "Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of Tamilnadu CM MK Stalin, and a minister in the DMK Govt, has linked Sanatana Dharma to malaria and dengue… He is of the opinion that it must be eradicated and not merely opposed. In short, he is calling for genocide of 80% population of Bharat, who follow Sanatan Dharma." 

Amit Malviya has faced a strong rebuttal from the critics and opposition leaders as he was slammed for triggering communal tensions and the political observers said that this overt fake news is part of BJP's religious rhetoric ahead of crucial elections. Though the top BJP leaders including Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh made Udhayanidhi's remarks a talking point in the election rally in Rajasthan, they also had conferred  Udhayanidhi, a state minister, a huge national popularity. 

How Udhayanidhi Stalin rebutted to BJP's fake news

Reacting to Amit Malviya's attempt to twist the tale, Udhayanidhi Stalin said, "I never called for the genocide of people who are following Sanatan Dharma. Sanatan Dharma is a principle that divides people in the name of caste and religion. Uprooting Sanatan Dharma is upholding humanity and human equality. I stand firmly by every word I have spoken. I spoke on behalf of the oppressed & marginalized, who suffer due to the Sanatan Dharma." 

The DMK Minister further said, "I am ready to present the extensive writings of Periyar and Ambedkar, who conducted in-depth research on Sanatan Dharma and its negative impact on society in any forum. Let me reiterate the crucial aspect of my speech: I believe, like the spread of diseases like COVID-19, Dengue, and Malaria by mosquitoes, that Sanatan Dharma is responsible for many social evils. I am prepared to confront any challenges that come my way, whether in a court of law or the people's court. Stop spreading fake news."

In another tweet, Udhayanidhi, when reacting to a legal observatory that threatened a legal case, said, "Bring it on. I am ready to face any legal challenge. We will not be cowed down by such usual saffron threats. We, the followers of Periyar, Anna, and Kalaignar, would fight forever to uphold social justice and establish an egalitarian society under the able guidance of our Hon'ble CM MK Stalin. I will say it today, tomorrow, and forever: Our resolve to stop Sanathana Dharma from the Dravidian land would not reduce even a bit." 

How the opposition parties reacted to the row 

While the BJP has tried to build a force against the opposition INDIA coalition through Udhayanidhi's remarks as the DMK is part of the alliance, several opposition parties in the bloc came in support for the DMK Minister, though some had drawn a line from his remarks. Congress party on Monday said that every party had the freedom to tell their views. 

Speaking at a party's press briefing, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said, "Our view is clear. 'Sarva Dharma Samabhava' (respect for all religions) is the Congress' ideology. Every political party has the freedom to tell their views. We are respecting everybody's beliefs." On the other hand, Karnataka Congress Minister Priyank Kharge, who is the son of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, said, "Any religion that doesn't treat people with equality is as good as a disease." 

Meanwhile, Congress leader Karan Singh has strongly objected Udhayanidhi's Sanatan Dharma remark and claimed that it is most unfortunate and totally unacceptable. Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said, "Congress believes in the Constitution...We are equal in the eyes of God. My question is who gave the BJP the right to distribute the certificates of 'dharma'. BJP never says anything when the leaders of the parties associated with BJP disrespect lord Shree Ram." 

D Raja, the leader of the Communist Party of India came in support of Udhayanidhi Stalin and said, "Udhayanidhi Stalin during an event said that 'Sanatana Dharma' should be eradicated on which BJP is reacting. Why they are so scared of such speech, I do not know. Sanatana cannot be equated with Hinduism. What is Sanatana? Let Amit Shah, the BJP, and RSS explain to the people what they mean by Sanatana? Sanatana is a philosophical view. Amit Shah and the BJP should understand this."

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee distanced herself from the row and said, "Every religion has separate sentiments. India is about 'Unity in Diversity' which is our origin. We should not be involved in any matter which might hurt a section of people." Priyanka Chaturvedi, MP of Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray faction that's rivalling with BJP has criticized Udhayanidhi over his Sanatan Dharma remarks. "Sanatan Dharm stands for eternal truth- the way to live life- the conscience & being. Sanatanis have long withstood attacks by invaders to end their identity yet they have not just survived but thrived. The country’s bedrock, which is linked to sanatan dharm, has been of inclusiveness of all faiths and identities. Anyone making derogatory comments against it is ignorant of what it stands for", she opined.