India

Priyanka Gandhi invokes Goddess Durga, urges people to chant Jai Mata Di in Varanasi rally

By PTI

VARANASI: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday invoked Goddess Durga and urged the audience to chant ‘Jai Mata Di’ as she addressed a rally in Varanasi, one of the holiest cities for Hindus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency.

“I am on fast and I will start my speech with praise of mother,” she said at a public meeting organized to express solidarity with farmers in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress general secretary recited two shlokas in Sanskrit and urged people to chant ‘Jai Mata Di’ with him, to which the audience reacted.

He also ended his speech with greetings of ‘Jai Mata Di’ and greeted people on the festival of Navratri when Goddess Durga is worshipped.

Read also | Kolkata Durga Puja based on NRC, Partition

Priyanka Gandhi’s gesture is significant as the Congress is projecting “Hinduism that is inclusive and secular” as a counter to the BJP’s Hindutva, which the opposition party has dubbed as a “political doctrine based on exclusion”.

As soon as the public meeting began, Priyanka Gandhi, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and other Congress leaders, who were present on the stage, raised slogans of ‘Har Har Mahadev’.

This was followed by recitation of passages from the Holy Quran and Gurbani.

UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said, “Under Priyanka ji’s leadership, the Congress will comprehensively defeat the demon power that has spread itself in different parts of the state.”

Earlier, senior Congress leader and former Union minister Salman Khurshid, when asked how the party will counter the “Hindutva of the BJP”, said, “It is a Hindu-majority nation.

Uttar Pradesh is a Hindu majority state.

You honestly cannot believe that the majority should not have a voice in deciding how the state is run.”

“There will be a voice in it. But the voice of the majority cannot completely negate the minority. It cannot happen,” he said.

The Congress leader also said that his party has a campaign on Hinduism.

“Our Hindu Dharma campaign is that Hinduism is inclusive, Hinduism is secular. And therefore Hinduism wants to join hands with other religions including Islam,” he said.

Khurshid said, “They say Hinduism is alone. We say Hinduism is with other religions. I am sure the state will decide in our favour.”

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