A BJP parliamentarian had attended the Mahishasura festival at Jawaharlal Nehru University that Union minister Smriti Irani held up on Wednesday and Thursday as an instance of questionable activities by students on the campus.
Delhi MP Udit Raj on Thursday confirmed attending the event in October 2013 – an acknowledgement that reflected the diverse beliefs that have co-existed in the country for ages but have of late been made to look like an inflammatory exercise.
The prominent dalit leader, while refuting the charges, said that in 2013 he had attended the event in full personal capacity and that since joining the saffron party he never took part in such program.
“What I did 5 yrs back is different. I did participate in that. I was an activist that time, I changed. Only fools and dead men don’t change their views,” he said.
“I have been to multiple events in 15 years all over the world, doesn’t mean my views were identical to all the organisers,” he added.
Raj had joined the BJP in February 2014. He successfully contested the Lok Sabha elections in the same year from North West Delhi constituency.
Meanwhile, Raj said: “I was an activist that time but I changed. Only fools and dead men don’t change their views”.
Responding to the controversy over her statement on Durga and Mahishasur, Union minister Smriti Irani on Friday asserted she made the statement with a lot of pain because she had been asked to explain the truth.
“I read it because I was asked to explain what is the truth. I said it with a lot of pain. I myself am a practising Hindu; I myself am a Durga worshipper. These are authenticated documents from the university itself,” she said in the Rajya Sabha, responding to the opposition’s vociferous protests over the statement in question.
Irani, who is a BJP member of the Rajya Sabha and human resource development minister, had read on Thursday in the house a pamphlet that purported to call for a celebration of ‘Mahishasur Martyrdom Day’.