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AMRELI/VADODARA: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday evening hit out at the controversy over his being registered as `non-Hindu’ in Somnath Temple insisting that he does not need to show any certificate of his religion.
“My grandmother and my family are Shiv bhakts. Such things are normally kept private. We do not speak of such things because we think that our religion is our personal affair,” said Gandhi in Amreli while addressing a small gathering of traders, the video of which went viral later on Thursday.
“Our faith is our personal matter. We are not required to show a certificate to anybody in this regard. We do not want to trade on this issue. `Hum is cheez ki dalali nahi karna chahte’ (We are not brokers of religion). We do not want to use it politically,” said Gandhi in response to a suggestion that he should address this issue in his public meetings.
A major row had erupted after Gandhi’s name was registered as `non-Hindu’ along with Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel in Somnath temple’s register during his two day visit to Gujarat on Wednesday.
This had led to Congress and BJP leaders sparring over the issue. Congress accused BJP of conspiracy while BJP leaders dismissed the allegation saying that Congress media coordinator had made the entry and there was no question of any conspiracy. AICC communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said that Gandhi was a `Hindu Brahmin’ and the entry made was a conspiracy by BJP miscreants.
BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra countered that there was no question of conspiracy as the information was penned by media coordinator of Congress, Manoj Tyagi. The party went on to question why Rahul Gandhi is not specifying his religion.
On Thursday too, BJP national spokesperson Narsimha Rao asked Gandhi to come clear on his religion.
Rao said that Rahul should clarify the issue and alleged that the information of being a non-Hindu was given by the Gandhi scion himself. “Later, a controversy was created to save him,” he said.
Rao further said that while trying to collect information about Rahul’s religion, he had come up with different details. “Somewhere it is mentioned he is a Christian saying that Rajiv Gandhi had converted before marriage and this was not denied. In 1998, an article in The New York Times stated that Sonia Gandhi had brought up her children as Roman Catholics and even this was not denied. Rahul has never said that he is a Christian,” he said.
“People are not concerned about your religion but transparency and honesty are needed in public life,, Rao said adding Rahul and his ancestors had shown an anti-Hindu mentality. “Jawaharlal Nehru had in a way opposed the Somnath temple construction. Words like Hindu terror and saffron terror were coined by you. There is a conspiracy to defame Hindu religion for vote bank politics,” he said.