Top Congress leader under fire for snubbing India's Hindutva at a conference in Lahore today

Top Congress leader under fire for snubbing India's Hindutva at a conference in Lahore today

NEW DELHI - He was suspended for shooting from his mouth before the Gujarat elections last year. That may not have been enough to silence Mani Shankar Aiyar who in Lahore on Monday took yet another veiled dig at BJP for supporting Hindutva.

Speaking at an event in Pakistan, Aiyar - suspended by Congress for calling PM Narendra Modi *neech* - invoked VD Savarkar to elaborate on the ideology of 'those currently in power in India.' "Present situation in India is an aberration. In 1923, a man called VD Savarkar invented a word which doesn't exist in any religious text, 'Hindutva'. So, first proponent of the two nation theory was ideological guru of those who are currently in power in India," news agency ANI quoted Aiyar as saying.

Aiyar then said that he received flak in India for calling Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah as Quiad-e-Azam. "I know many Pakistanis who called MK Gandhi as Mahatma Gandhi, does that make them unpatriotic Pakistanis?" he asked.

This is not the first time that the veteran politician has made a controversial remark. And it is not the first time he has done so in Pakistan. In the past, he has said that he receives more hatred in India than love in Pakistan. Earlier this year, at the height of Indo-Pak tensions, he had said that India is caught in partition mindset while there is “change of mindset” in the neighbouring country.

As recently as last week, Aiyar was flayed by BJP for lauding Quaid e Azam even as there is a raging controversy over Jinnah's portrait in Aligarh Muslim University.

Although Congress has distanced itself from Aiyar's recent comments, many feel his remarks would continue to have a bearing on the party which is currently battling hard to retain power in Karnataka.

Foreign Policy