Days after a Swami Vivekananda statue was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the JNU campus, a senior BJP leader demanded that the university be renamed after noted Hindu saint.

CT Ravi, BJP general secretary in-charge for Maharashtra, Goa and Tamil Nadu, who is not new to making controversial remarks, tweeted, "It was Swami Vivekananda who stood for the idea of 'Bharat'. His philosophy and values signify the 'Strength of Bharat'. It is only right that Jawaharlal Nehru University be renamed as Swami Vivekananda University. Life of Bharat's patriotic saint will inspire generations to come."

Prime Minister Modi had on November 12 unveiled a statue of Swami Vivekananda in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus and asserted that people may have ideological differences but ideology should be seen supporting and not opposing the nation in matters of national interest.

The Prime Minister had said that the statue will inspire everyone and instill courage and compassion that Swami Vivekananda wanted to see in people.

JNU, named after India's first Prime Minister, has long been considered an impregnable fort of the Left parties, with student unions affiliated to them calling the shots on the campus.

The BJP and Hindutva groups, including RSS` student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishat (ABVP), have often claimed that those with "anti-national" sentiments have found support from the Left-affiliated bodies.

The decision to instal a life-size statue of Vivekananda, a widely respected Hindu monk, is imbued with symbolism.

In his address, Modi said good reforms were earlier considered bad politics but now it is good politics because his government''s intentions and commitment are pure, and it has prepared a "protection shield" for the poor and other vulnerable sections before carrying out reforms.

Ravi is known for making controversial remarks from his early days in politics. He rose to prominence by organising the 'Datta Mala Abhiyana', which was launched in early 90s in Chikkamagaluru claiming that Bababudangiri, a Muslim shrine, was actually the abode of Guru Dattatreya.

The movement was then considered to be the Ayodhya movement of south India.

He had recently suggested that 'love jihad' should be criminalised in Karnataka. Later, the matter was discussed in the BJP's executive committee meeting in Mangaluru and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had even announced that his government would bring in such a legislation soon.

(With agencies)

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