- CP Joshi had said that "only Brahmins know enough to talk about Hinduism"
- Rahul Gandhi said his comments are against the party's principles
- CP Joshi is contesting next month's polls in Rajasthan
Rahul Gandhi today rebuked senior Congress leader CP Joshi and asked him to apologise for his controversial comment that "only Brahmins know enough to talk about Hinduism". CP Joshi, a Congress candidate in next month's Rajasthan election, duly apologised in a tweet.
"CP Joshi's comments are against the Congress party's principles. No party leader should make statements that hurt any section of the society," Rahul Gandhi tweeted in swift damage control.
"I am sure Joshiji has realized his mistake in view of the Congress's beliefs and workers' sentiment. He should apologise," the Congress president said.
Mr Joshi did apologise, using almost the same words: "Out of respect for the Congress's beliefs and workers' sentiment, I apologise if my comments hurt any section of the society."
A video of the former union minister's comments at an election rally was tweeted by a BJP lawmaker. Mr Joshi was lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Uma Bharti in Rajasthan's Nathdwara, from where he is contesting the December 7 election.
"Uma Bharti is a Lodhi, and she talks about Hinduism, Modi ji talks about Hinduism. It's only Brahmins who don't talk about it. In 50 years they have lost their mind. The country is being misled... Religion and governance are two different things. Everyone has the right to practice their religion," Mr Joshi says in the video.
"They say a Congress leader can't be a Hindu. Who gave them the authority to issue certificates? Have they opened a university? If anyone knows about religion in this country then its pandits, brahmins," he says.
The video was tweeted by BJP legislator Harsh Sanghavi, who commented: "Shameful statement by Congress Leader CP Joshi. Implies what does a lower caste person like Modi know about Hinduism as only Brahmins are true custodians of Hinduism !"
Alleging fabrication of his comments, Mr Joshi tweeted his own clip of the video and wrote: "I strongly condemn the fabricated use of my statement by BJP."
Rahul Gandhi's intervention didn't impress BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, who "challenged" the Congress to "sack CP Joshi within one hour".
The Congress sees a good chance of snatching Rajasthan from the BJP, on the back of anti-incumbency sentiment. This is not the first embarrassing video it has confronted in its campaign for polls in Rajasthan and three other states. Earlier this week, the party's Madhya Pradesh chief Kamal Nath was caught on video apparently saying if Muslims didn't vote en masse for the Congress, it is doomed.
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