Union minister Anantkumar Hegde -- known for his hugely controversial comments -- today weighed in on the row over Shashi Tharoor's dig at Yogi Adityanath. His target was Rahul Gandhi, who had been dragged into the Twitter war by Union minister Smriti Irani. While Ms Irani had accused the Congress chief of "strategically" wearing a janeu, Mr Hegde questioned his right to wear one, tagging him a "hybrid type".
Mr Gandhi had been one of those who, earlier this week, had condemned Mr Hegde's declaration that "any hand that touches a Hindu girl should not exist". Mr Hegde, Mr Gandhi said, was "an embarrassment to every Indian" and "unfit to be a Union minister".
"He (Rahul Gandhi) does not know about the nation nor has any awareness on religion. They have lied so much," the minister said at an event in the port city of Karwar. "His (Rahul Gandhi's) father is a Muslim and mother is a Christian and the son is a Brahmin. How does that happen? You won't find such a hybrid type anywhere," he said.
The row had started in the morning when Shashi Tharoor posted a rare Hindi tweet, targeting Yogi Adityanath over conflicting religious and environmental goals. The Chief Minister took a dip at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, with his whole cabinet yesterday.
"You want to keep the Ganga clean and also wash sins there. Everyone is naked in this sangam. Jai Ganga Maiya Ki," Mr Tharoor tweeted, drawing a crushing retort from Union Minister Smriti Irani.
For Shashi Tharoor to make a statement which tantamounts to a religious slur. The question needs to be asked of Rahul Gandhi, who strategically wears a 'Janeu' (sacred thread) only when there are polls, as to why he has allowed this attack on beliefs of millions of Hindus across the world."
गंगा भी स्वच्छ रखनी है और पाप भी यहीं धोने हैं। इस संगम में सब नंगे हैं!— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 29, 2019
जय गंगा मैया की! pic.twitter.com/qAmHThAJjD
Anant Kumar Hegde waded into the controversy soon after. The minister, whose list of inflammatory comments is growing, has also claimed that Taj Mahal was not built by Muslims but happened to be a Hindu temple.
Over the weekend, he had chased up his "Hindu girl" comment with an attack on a Congress leader who questioned his contribution to the state. Mr Hegde said he knew Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao -- who is married to a Muslim --- as a "guy who ran behind a Muslim lady".
Earlier this month, he termed the Kerala government's handling of the Sabarimala row as "daylight rape" of Hindus.