Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi on Sunday said that the Hindu community is not synonymous with the BJP and that opposing BJP does not amount to opposing Hindus. Backing him, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday has said that the BJP does not "define Hindutva and Hindu community."
Speaking to ANI, Raut said, "See, Bharatiya Janata Party does not define Hindutva and Hindu community. BJP is a political party, Shiv Sena is a political party. There are many parties and they have their own ideology. Like Pakistan has declared itself an Islamic state but India has still not declared itself as a 'Hindu Rashtra'."
He added, "BJP manifesto does not state that only Hindus can join BJP. India is a massive country and its culture is different. Whatever Bhaiyya Ji has said, he is correct. If BJP or any party thinks that it is more secular or more Hindutva, then it is not like that."
"Hindu community does not mean BJP, and opposing BJP does not amount to opposing Hindus," news agency ANI quoted Bhaiyyaji Joshi as saying. Bhaiyyaji Joshi further said, "Political fight will continue but it should not be linked to Hindus."
Bhaiyyaji Joshi's comments came in view of the ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which offers citizenship to people from six communities -- Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians, but not Muslims -- who entered India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The RSS, parent organisation of the BJP, has been firm on defending the CAA. Earlier, Bhaiyyaji Joshi had said that the government has passed CAA and the state government has to implement it as under the Constitution, citizenship is a subject of the Centre, and not of the state. "State governments can make laws only on the subjects of the Concurrent List like the Centre makes the law under the Motor Vehicle Act," Bhaiyyaji Joshi had said.
Responding to a question, Joshi said that the people from all communities are welcome to join the Sangh. He said that those who believe in the ideology of the Sangh can join and they would be given "respectable position but not a separate position".
"Sangh has given position to everyone. Whoever wants to come to Sangh they are welcome. We never stopped non-Hindus from joining Sangh. It is true that we have focused on Hindus. But if someone from the Christian community or a Muslim agrees with Sangh's ideology, they can also join it," Joshi added.
(With agency inputs)