Unruly supporters of the BJP in Gujarat on Saturday tore apart Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s banners in Vadodara city ahead of a rally to be addressed by AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann in protest against, what they sought to call, anti-Hindu statements by a Delhi minister recently.
The BJP supporters even painted the roads with slogans against Kejriwal and AAP slogans calling them anti-Hindu over the minister’s remarks at a Buddhist conversion function.
The 'Tiranga Rally' began nearly three hours after the scheduled time of 4pm because of this incident and heavy rains. Addressing the rally, Kejriwal made references to Hindu mythology to shoot back with the allegation that the BJP "insults Gods".
He asserted that, "Our enemies are all demons like Kansa. We have a duty to annihilate them. They should know, I was born on Janmashtami (Lord Krishna's birthday) and Lord Krishna had killed his evil uncle Kansa, according to the religious texts.”
The AAP’s aggressive campaign for the December State Assembly elections has unnerved the BJP, which seems more occupied in staving off Kejriwal’s freebie promises and his allegations in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state where elections are due in December.
After the demonstrations by the BJP workers, senior AAP leader Durgesh Pathak tweeted: "This hooliganism shows the BJP's fear of defeat in Gujarat."
The BJP workers were protesting against Delhi minister Rajendra Pal Gautam's oath at a mass conversion event to Buddhism in Delhi, where he was among thousands who recited BR Ambedkar's 22 vows that include denouncing Hindu Gods and Brahminical traditions.
While the AAP officially didn't address it directly, Gautam has since apologised for "hurting anyone's religious sentiments”, but drew the attention to freedom of religion and insisted that he had only repeated the vows taken by the legendary Dalit leader, who converted to Buddhism at such an event in 1956.
Some of the protesters in Vadodara said they had nothing to do with the BJP but were “ordinary, proud Hindus” and hurt by the minister’s assertions.
"That AAP minister (Rajendra Pal Gautam) made thousands of Hindus change their religion," a woman who tore AAP posters was seen telling local TV channels.
The Delhi event was organised by Jai Bheem Mission, an NGO founded by the AAP minister, where nearly 7,000 people, mostly Dalits, embraced Buddhism. It was attended by a great-grandnephew of BR Ambedkar, Rajratna Ambedkar.
BJP has filed police complaints and shared the event's video on Twitter, accusing the AAP minister of "spewing venom against Hindus".
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