AAP's Saurabh Bharadwaj slams BJP for inducting Jitan Ram Manjhi in Modi cabinet

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New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) The AAP on Monday hit out at the BJP for appointing Jitan Ram Manjhi as a cabinet minister despite his alleged controversial statement that Ravan is better than Lord Ram.

Senior AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj questioned whether the BJP now considers Lord Ram and the Ramayan imaginary and asserted the BJP has "compromised" its religious beliefs for political power. He urged the BJP to clarify its stance on Manjhi's remarks.

Manjhi, who heads the Hindustani Awam Morcha, had said last year, "I have always held that Lord Ram is an imaginary figure and not a historical one..." He added, "Even if we go by the myth, Ravan does come across as far more well-versed in karma kanda (rituals) than Ram. We should ponder why is it that Valmiki, who is credited with having penned the oldest Ramayan, is never revered like Tulsidas (author of Ramcharitmanas)." Addressing a press conference, Bharadwaj said the BJP formed its government in the country for the third time.

"The surprising thing is that the person who calls Lord Ram imaginary and says that Ravan is better than Lord Ram has been given a ministerial position in the cabinet of the country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he added.

Questioning the BJP over choosing Manjhi, Bharadwaj aqsked whether the saffron party had similar views as its minister.

"Does the BJP consider Lord Ram to be fictional? Does the BJP consider Ramayan to be fictional? "Does the BJP now believe that Ravan was better than Lord Ram? Does the BJP agree with Jitan Ram Manjhi's statement?" he asked.

The BJP should tell whether it agrees with the statement of Manjhi, Bharadwaj said.

"Does the BJP also believe now that Lord Ram and Ramayan are just a fantasy?" he said. PTI SLB SLB KSS KSS