Tharoor stands by Hindu Pakistan remarks

Striking a defiant note, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday stood by his remark that a BJP victory in 2019 Lok Sabha polls would turn India into a Hindu Pakistan even as his party cautioned him to choose his words carefully.

The BJP latched on to Tharoor's remarks, made at a function in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, where he said that if the BJP was re-elected in the 2019 national elections, the rights of minorities would be trampled, making India a "Hindu Pakistan".

BJP leaders accused Tharoor of "insulting Hindus" and demanded an apology from Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

"Congress leaders first talked about saffron terror, then Hindu terror and now Hindu Pakistan. What would one say about such thinking?" BJP national general secretary Ram Lal said here.

While I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore claimed that Tharoor was "hallucinating", BJP spokesman Sambit Patra wanted Rahul to explain why Congress leaders spoke in a manner that "insult(s) Hindus".

Asserting that his remarks were "bizzarely misconstrued", Tharoor tried to furnish his Hindu credentials by posting photos of his visit to the Poonthura Shiva Kshetram in Thiruvananthapuram.

He also issued a statement 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 after the BJP went out with all guns blazing against him.

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

However, the Congress strongly disapproved of Tharoor's remarks and advised him to choose his words carefully.

"India's values & fundamentals are an unequivocal guarantee of our civilisational role & set us apart from the divisive idea of Pakistan. All Congress leaders must realise this historic responsibility bestowed upon us while choosing words & phraseology to reject BJP's hatred," Congress' chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

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Tharoor stands by Hindu Pakistan remarks

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