File photo of Congress leader Raj Babbar addressing a press conference recently. (PTI)
Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar took a dig at the BJP and asked the ruling party to refrain from making statements on Lord Hanuman, suggesting that the party lost elections in three states by dragging the deity into politics.
The Congress leader's remarks came amid a row over Lord Hanuman's caste triggered by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath when he called the deity a Dalit during a rally in the run-up to the Rajasthan Assembly elections.
"Don't trouble Lord Hanuman too much. With a swipe of his tail, the BJP lost elections in three states, Now, their Lanka will be on fire," he told reporters here.
While addressing a rally in Rajasthan's Alwar district, Adityanath had said, "Hanuman was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit. Bajrang Bali worked to unite all Indian communities, from north to south and east to west."
A few days later, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes chairperson Nand Kumar Sai had claimed that Lord Hanuman was a tribal.
Last week, Bukkal Nawab, a BJP MLC from Uttar Pradesh, claimed that the monkey god was a Muslim while UP's Religious Affairs Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary stated that the Hindu deity belonged to the Jat community.
Samajwadi Party's national general secretary and former MP Rama Shankar Vidyarthi had claimed that Lord Hanuman belonged to tribal 'Gond' community.
Meanwhile, self-styled godman Computer Baba has demanded apology from Yogi Adityanath and his Cabinet colleagues for their remarks about "caste and creed" of Lord Hanuman.
Computer Baba alias Namdevdas Tyagi, who was accorded the Minister of State status by the erstwhile BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, fell out with the party in run-up to the Assembly elections.
The self-styled godman, who had held a "Sant Samagam" or conclave to mobilise support for the Congress during recently-held polls, also threatened to launch a countrywide agitation against Adityanath "if he continued making remarks about Hindu deities".
"Yogi Adityanath should apologise in public for his remark or sants and seers would launch agitations against him across the country. Yogi not only made remarks but also told his ministers to make such remarks. They said Hanuman ji was dalit, a tribal, a Muslim. I am feeling sad," Baba told reporters.
He said Lord Hanuman doesn'y belong to any caste, clan or creed, but belongs to all.
"We will not tolerate any remark about deities of Sanatan Dharma", he said.
Baba hoped the illegal mining around banks of the Narmada river would be stopped under newly-formed Congress government. "The work for saving cows would also be started
soon", he said.
Baba had resigned as MoS accusing then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of failing to protect the cow and to stop illegal mining in the holy river.
Responding to a query whether he wished to become a minister again, Baba said, "If he (CM Kamal Nath) wanted to, he can consider. I will think whenever such situation arises".