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Anisha Sheth | The News Minute | January 5, 2014 | 11.40 am IST Follow @anisha_w A Congress leader in Dakshina Kannada district is of the opinion that the Congress needs to “invisibly support” a Hindu organization in order to retain its Hindu supporters who he thinks will not remain with the party for very long. Puttur (taluk) Block Congress president Hemanath Shetty told The News Minute that he would set up the Bharatiya Hindu Parishad to show support for Hindus in the local areas, in order to ensure that the Congress was not anti-Hindu. The logo of the parishad has already been released, but it would officially be inagurated by organizing a Vishnu Sahasranama yaga officiated by the Edaneer Mutt seer on January 14. “Today, even within the Congress, if a member turns up for meetings with a tilak, he is perceived as a BJP man. Such people are almost untouchables in the party,” Shetty says, adding that this was creating the impression that Congress did not care about Hindus and that it was only indulging in “appeasement politics”.  He also said that at present, the Congress could not win elections without minority votes, and these were not enough to see a candidate through in most seats. He said that unless the alienation of the Hindus was countered, the Congress would lose support among Hindus. On claims of love jihad, cow slaughter and threats to Hindus, Shetty said: “Their claims are fabricated, there is no such thing. But the situation today is that Hindus have nothing else to believe. Do we get any religious instruction like Muslims and Christians do? No, that is not a part of our tradition. So people have to believe whatever they (RSS) says Hinduism is.”  He said that the aim of the parishad he was floating was to counter the idea that Hinduism is what Hindutva is. “Hindutva is not what the RSS says it is, it is the good in Hinduism. Everyone knows that they (RSS) organizes Hindu Samajotsavas when elections are around, but even if they talk about Hindus, they never talk about the uplift of Hindus. They use Hindu sentiment to create trouble,” he said. Asked about his party’s views on such a Hindu group, Shetty said: “Once a Hindu goes to a Hindu Samajotsava, he wont come back (join any other party). I know the party cannot include this as one of its affiliated wings, it is counter to the party constitution, but I think the Congress should invisibly support the organization and do this elsewhere also. What the Congress cannot do, the parishad can. The idea that the Congress does not support Hindus needs to be controlled.” Describing himself as “Congress by birth” Shetty said: “Our Hindutva (through the parishad) is a Hindutva that will not oppose other religions, not insult other faiths.” Asked about a view that he was merely floating this group to puut pressure on the party because he had some quarrel with Puttur MLA Shakuntala Shetty, he said he did have differences with some of the members within the party, but that he would not like to talk about them as they were unrelated to the parishad. Asked about minister B Ramanath Rai distancing the party from Shettty's activities, he said that he did not fear any dsciplinary action from the party as the party would not be hurt by the parishad's activities and instead it would help the Congress. Tweet

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