Congress Working Committee (CWC) member and MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said that every ‘Ram bhakt’ was not a BJP supporter and he saw no reason why he or the grand old party should relinquish Lord Ram to the saffron party.
Tharoor, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said that there were many, including him, who are devotees of Lord Ram and if in future they go to the temple in Ayodhya it would be to express their devotion and not hurt anyone.
He said that secularism does not mean absence of religion, it means “pluralism” — everyone can profess the religion of their choice.
Tharoor was speaking to reporters at the Government Law College here following a protest by the Students Federation of India (SFI) activists and fraternity members against him over his Lord Ram-related post on social media platform X.
The protestors called him “shameless”, shouted slogans against him and also carried banners and placards one of which said — ‘Shashi Tharoor you are a disgrace to a democratic secular state.’ The Congress MP had posted a picture of the Lord Ram idol in Ayodhya along with a message in Hindi — ‘Siyavar Ram ki jai’.
Tharoor said the message he intended to send out through his post was his devotion to Ram and also the avoidance of Sita when hailing Ram.
“Therefore, there is no need to make it into such a big issue,” he said.
Tharoor, who was invited to the college for an event by the Kerala Students Union (KSU), further said, “I do not see why I have to give up to the BJP a God I believe in and pray to every day? “The BJP may want all Ram bhakts to vote for them. But is every Ram bhakt a BJP supporter? That is the question. In my opinion, they are not. I also ask why should the Congress relinquish Ram to the BJP? We can also accept and pray to God, we too have religion.” Tharoor further said that no one in the party was opposing the Ram Temple, “we were only opposed to the event.” “If I go to a temple, it is to pray and not for political reasons. Someday I will go to Ayodhya, but it will be on my terms,” he said.
He also said that he had in the past too stated that while every Hindu may desire a Ram Temple at Ayodhya, “I have always maintained that there was no need to demolish a mosque to build it.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)