Days after Congress President Rahul Gandhi accused him of not understanding the fundamentals of Hinduism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit back on Monday, saying Rajasthan will vote on the issue of development, not on his knowledge of Hinduism.
Modi added that unlike Gandhi, he never claimed to have entire knowledge of Hinduism "which can't be grasped even in several lifetimes".
Dubbing the Congress President a self-proclaimed "thekedar of Hinduism", Modi said Hinduism is so vast that even the "rishis and munis" (sages and saints) could never claim to know it in its entirety.
Taking a jibe at the Congress, he said it was not interested in issues related to development but on Modi's knowledge of Hinduism, "which is irrelevant in an election".
"Is Rajasthan going to vote on the issue whether Modi has the knowledge of Hinduism or not? Or will it vote on issues of road, electricity and water?" he asked.
"Not even rishis and munis claimed that they had the entire knowledge of Hinduism. It is so vast that one can't grasp it in several lifetimes. I never claimed that I have that entire knowledge. Only 'naamdar' can make that claim," Modi said in a slanted attack on Gandhi.
Gandhi had attacked Modi on Saturday asking what kind of a Hindu he was that he did not understand the fundamentals of Hinduism. "You please study Hinduism. What does Gita say? It says that knowledge is with everybody. Knowledge is all around you. Our Prime Minister says that I am a Hindu but he does not understand the fundamentals of Hinduism. What kind of Hindu he is? That is the contradiction," Gandhi had said.
Attacking the Congress, the Prime Minister asked where was its understanding of Hinduism when its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru "opposed the reconstruction of Somnath temple in Gujarat or when the UPA government told the Supreme Court in writing that there was no proof of existence of Lord Ram and he was a fictional character?"
Ahead of the December 7 polls in Rajasthan, Modi said Congress would fail like it failed in other states.
"It is not interested in development. It believes in caste and votebank politics. Congress thinks that it doesn't have to do anything to win in Rajasthan, that people of Rajasthan will go with the Congress following the trend of switching between the two parties in consecutive elections.
"But it forgets that it was the people of Rajasthan that gave Bhairon Singh Shekhawat two consecutive terms," he said.
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