Thiruvananthapuram: The latest to lend weight to former Chief Minister and Congress veteran AK Antony's recent statement that it would be remiss of his party to turn its backs on all Hindus is none other than K Sudhakaran, who helms Congress' unit in Kerala.
Sudhakaran on Friday stressed that it was always Congress' political philosophy to be an inclusive party, and that Antony's statement was only a reiteration of that fact.
"Congress is not a party that divides on the basis of religion. It is a movement committed to preserving the secular fabric of India," Sudhakaran said.
"Every citizen has the right to choose and believe in the rituals of his/her choice. No one becomes a communalist by going to mosques or temples. The Congress, which recognizes the unity and diversity of the country, cannot and will not discriminate people on the basis of caste, religion, language, class, colour, food or dress," Sudhakaran said.
The Congress leader also warned that there are nefarious elements in our society that try to paint a communal colour on everything and take undue advantage of the chaos that ensues. He said that it is and always has been his party's mission to root out such elements.
The firebrand leader also faulted the BJP for failing to embrace the broad-mindedness of Hinduism, a religion which the latter claims to have a total monopoly over.
Speaking at a party event, Antony had cautioned the party that labelling anyone with religious markers such as sandalwood paste on the forehead as followers of “soft Hindutva” would only help the BJP.
“Muslims can go to mosques and Christians can go to churches. But the assumption that any Hindu who goes to temples, wears a tilak or sandal paste are followers of soft Hindutva would only help return Modi to power,” Antony said, while also reminding all that to win the 2024 general election, "minorities are not enough as Hindus are the majority".
The former Chief Minister's statement had created ripples. Though there were also disparate voices even within the Congress, they were quickly suppressed after party heavyweights - Opposition leader VD Satheesan, veteran leaders K Muraleedharan and Ramesh Chennithala among others - came out in support of Antony.