Panaji : The right wingers seem to be coming out of the woodwork. Days after his minister brother triggered a controversy by demanding a ban on wearing bikinis on Goa’s beaches, Cooperation Minister Dipak Dhavalikar also waded into a row by asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will develop India into a ‘Hindu nation’.
“I am confident that under the leadership of Modi(ji), India will develop into a Hindu nation. Prime Minister will work in this regard, this is what I feel,” he said while speaking in state assembly on a motion congratulating Modi on BJP’s electoral victory.
Both Dhavalikar brothers — Sudin and Dipak — belong to the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, an ally of the BJP, and are ministers in the Manohar Parrikar government. “Wearing bikinis should be banned on Goa’s beaches,” Sudin Dhavalikar, the state’s transport minister, had said earlier this month. Before that, he had slammed the “young girls going to pubs in skimpy dresses” as it was against Goan culture. Sudin had later withdrawn his comments that provoked outrage in a state whose beaches and pubs swarm with tourists, including lakhs of foreigners.
Deepak Dhavalikar’s comments have embarrassed the BJP at a time it was groaning over the conduct of another ally, the Shiv Sena. The Sena has not yet apologized for its parliamentarian Rajan Vichare, who was caught on camera forcing a roti into the mouth of a Maharashtra Sadan catering staffer, who was on a Ramzan fast.
Reacting to Dhavalikar’s comment, BJP”s spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said in a tweet. “Might be his personal view, BJP believes in Constitution, it doesn’t give importance to one religion over the other.”