New Delhi: Congress leader Udit Raj on Thursday stoked a row with his tweet Kumbh Mela, questioning the expenditure incurred by the government for organising the religious event.
The tweet also drew sharp criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
However, Raj later clarified that the tweets were made in his personal capacity. "I am restoring my tweet & ready to debate. INC wasn't tagged & it was my personal tweet," the Dalit leader said.
The tweet that stirred up a row read: "No religious teachings & rituals to be funded by the Government. The state doesn't have its own religion. UP govt spent Rs 4,200 crore in organising the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and that too was wrong."
The Congress leader said that his tweet was in reaction to Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's remark that if the state government is bearing the cost of teaching the Quran in madrassas, then Bible and Bhagavad Gita should also be taught by the govt.
Sarma had said, "In my opinion, teaching 'Quran' can't happen at the cost of government money, if we have to do so then we should also teach both the Bible and Bhagavad Gita. So, we want to bring uniformity and stop this practice."
The Assam government has decided to close down all the state-run madrassas and Sanskrit tols (schools) as it "can't afford to teach religious scriptures with public funds".
Reacting to Raj's tweet, the BJP attacked Priyanka Gandhi on the issue, with its leader Siddharth Nath Singh saying, "Priyanka Gandhi should answer whether the government should spend on Kumbh Mela. We are proud that we have spent on Kumbh Mela and the next one will be even more grand."
Raj, who became an MP from Delhi on a BJP ticket in 2014, jumped ship to the Congress after being demied a ticket in 2019.
Next Mela will be grander: UP minister
Lucknow: The next Kumbh will be grander and the government will spend double the amount it had spent in the previous Kumbh fair, said Uttar Pradesh MSME Minister Sidharth Nath Singh in response to Congress leader Udit Raj's tweet questioning Uttar Pradesh government's spending on Kumbh fair. While talking to ANI, Singh said it is not for BJP to answer but for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the Congress party to answer whether the government should be spending in the Kumbh or not.