Even as the controversy around his “Sanatan Dharma should be eradicated” comment is yet to cool down, Udhayanidhi Stalin continues to brazen it out. On Wednesday, September 6, during a media interaction, the DMK scion was asked if he could give an example of caste discrimination in Sanatan Dharma, to this, Udhayanidhi Stalin said claimed that President Droupadi Murmu not being invited to the inauguration of the new Parliament complex is a recent example of caste discrimination under Santan Dharma.
“President Droupadi Murmu was not invited for the inauguration of the new Parliament building, that is the best current example,” Udhayanidhi Stalin said.
#WATCH | Chennai | On being asked if he can give any example of practices of caste discrimination that need to be eradicated, Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin says “President Droupadi Murmu was not invited for the inauguration of the new Parliament building, that is the… pic.twitter.com/dU79QmDaqK
— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2023
Moreover, over the question of apologising for his slanderous remarks against Sanatan Dharma, the Tamil Nadu Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development refused to respond.
Udhaynidhi Stalin’s explicitly Hinduphobic remarks have elicited significant outrage from both political and non-political quarters. On September 2nd, the DMK leader and CM MK Stalin’s son likened Sanatan Dharma to contagious diseases such as dengue and malaria and urged for its eradication. He argued that the overwhelming majority of Indian citizen’s belief system, Sanatan Dharma, must be eradicated.
The blatantly Hinduphobic remarks have so far elicited strong responses from politicians and Hindu leaders, as well as the general public. It has also cast doubt on the intentions and strategies of the I.N.D.I.A bloc, of which the DMK is an essential ally.
Udhayanidhi Stalin claimed that not inviting President Droupadi Murmu to inaugurate the new parliament was caste discrimination, he conveniently forgot that the same BJP-led government had nominated and voted Murmu as the president of India. The BJP-NDA coalition did not discriminate against her based on her caste but rather recognised her illustrious career and service to the nation. Moreover, Udhayanidhi Stalin’s own DMK party, along with several other opposition parties, had voted against her in the presidential elections. They had voted for Yashwant Sinha, an upper-caste Brahmin.
While Udhayanidhi Stalin cited President Droupadi Murmu not being invited to inaugurate the new parliament building as the “best” example of caste discrimination under Sanatan Dharma, it is worth recalling that a PIL was filed in May this year asking the Supreme Court to rule that President Droupadi Murmu, and not Prime Minister Narendra Modi, should preside at the inauguration of the new Parliament building. The plea, however, was not only denied by the Supreme Court bench but stated that the petitioner lacked locus standi to bring such a plea and mentioned that he should be grateful that the court is not fining him.
Stalin’s assertion that President Murmu was not invited to inaugurate the new parliament building does not hold water as the ruling dispensation had back then clarified why it was appropriate for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to preside over the inauguration ceremony.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri stated in a series of tweets back then that, while the President is the Head of State, the Prime Minister is the Head of Government and leads the Parliament on behalf of the Government, whose policies are enacted through laws. The President is not a Member of either House, whereas the Prime Minister is. Apparently, President Murmu’s absence from the new Parliament’s inaugural ceremony had nothing to even remotely do with caste, discrimination, or Sanatan Dharma.
In fact, the question arises as to whether the DMK’s boycott, along with 15 other political parties including the TMC and Congress, of former President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget session in 2021 in solidarity with farmers protesting against the three farm laws, can be characterised as “caste discrimination.” When a self-proclaimed crusader for social justice does something, it is acceptable, but when the BJP does something, even if it is in the right spirit, Stalin brings up caste (discrimination) and Sanatan Dharma. It is also worth mentioning that Udhayanidhi Stalin’s party, which now regards President Murmu’s absence at parliament inauguration as discrimination, did not even support her during the presidential elections.
Udhayanidhi Stalin, who identifies as a Christian, stirred up not only religious but also regional divisions, a typical Dravidian political approach. It is inevitable that the Nehru-Gandhi Congress has supported Udhayanidhi’s Hindu-hating viewpoints with Congress leader Priyank Kharge backing him, but this has put the I.N.D.I.alliance in a tough spot.