Raipur: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday launched a blistering attack on critics of Mahatma Gandhi, accusing them of spreading hatred and pretending to be greater than some of the greatest Indians and foreigners who revered the apostle of non-violence.
Without mincing words, the Congress stalwart tore apart not only Hindu leader Kalicharan Maharaj, who has been arrested for justifying the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, but also the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
Baghel pointed out that it was Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore who gave Gandhi the title ‘Mahatma’.
“Who are they to speak against Tagore? Is this Kalicharan bigger than Tagore? Those who are acting as agents of BJP, are they bigger than Tagore?” the Chief Minister asked.
“Who is this Kalicharan or ‘Galicharan’? Suddenly he appeared and said terrible things about Mahatma Gandhi We don’t know who or what is behind that slur,” Baghel added.
Congress leaders staged a protest in Raipur. Baghel joined the programme to launch the scathing attack on Kalicharan and the BJP.
“If the likes of Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Bose, Albert Einstein knew and vouched for the greatness of Father of the Nation during Mahatma Gandhiji’s lifetime, then who cares what these people have to say,” he added.
Baghel underlined that though Subhas Chandra Bose differed from Mahatma Gandhi, he described the latter in his radio address from Rangoon in 1944 as “Father of the Nation”.
“The great scientist Albert Einstein said generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this ever walked on this earth in flesh and blood,” he said.
Baghel said Hindus were proud they were Hindus and added that Gandhi was a practising Hindu while Savarkar — an idol for the BJP — was an atheist.
He also said that while Mahatma Gandhi worshipped the cow, Savarkar did not.
“They blame Gandhi for partition of the country but the foundation of the partition was laid by Savarkar and it was fanned by Jinnah. Both Jinnah and Savarkar were atheists, but one became a Muslim leader the other is being made a leader of Hindus,” Baghel said.
He was referring to Vinayak Savarkar, a leading figure of the Hindu Mahasabha, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
“There are some people who want to fill the society with hatred. They are like leprosy for society… They take it in the wrong direction.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic, the economy has collapsed, education has been affected, people have lost jobs. At a time like this we need to work for the economic prosperity of people, instead of spreading hatred,” the Chief Minister said.
Baghel mentioned the Ram temple in Ayodhya and said then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said the issue would be resolved only by a court order.
“Now that the temple is being constructed, which is good, looting of land is also going on,” he said, referring to the Ayodhya land scam in which a probe has been ordered by the Uttar Pradesh government.
He took a dig at the RSS and said while its leaders say that Muslims should be sent to Pakistan, it is a map of ‘Akhand Bharat’ which is displayed in RSS offices — which show Pakistan as a part of India.
Baghel said the BJP tries to appropriate leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and even Mahatma Gandhi but their leaders will never say “Godse Murdabad”.
Chhattisgarh Police arrested Kalicharan from Madhya Pradesh on Thursday.