Astonished with Selja’s remarks in Rajya Sabha: Nathwani

Vadodara: Reacting to Congress leader Kumari Selja’s statement in the Rajya Sabha over being enquired about her caste during a visit to Dwarka temple in Gujarat in 2013, BJP MP Parimal Nathwani on Wednesday, Dec 2 said he was “astonished” at the former Union minister’s remarks as she had then praised the temple authorities for its management and seemed to be happy.

Kumari on Monday, while participating in debate on ‘Commitment to the Constitution’ in the Rajya Sabha, had said that she was asked about her caste when she had visited Dwarka temple in Gujarat as a Cabinet Minister, leading to arguments between the ruling and opposition sides.

Nathwani, also the vice chairman of the Dwarkadheesh Devsthan Samiti, said the Congress minister during her visit to Dwarka temple in February, 2013 as a cabinet minister, she had mentioned about the cleanliness and maintenance of the temple premises in the visitors book.

“Kumari Selja, during her visit on February 22, 2013, she had written in the visitors book that with Lord Krishna’s blessing they had a very good ‘darshan’ and maintenance of the premises was excellent. It reflects that she was happy and appreciated the temple authorities,” Nathwani said.

Terming Selja’s remarks as “astonishing”, he said there was nothing “humiliating” in being asked about caste as it is “customary” practise at Hindu temples or shrines.

“With due respect to her, I would state that there is nothing humiliating in Tirth Panda asking devotees about their ‘Gotra’ (family root). This is a normal practise at all major Hindu shrines and pilgrim places,” he said.

The MP said raising such issues only creates flutter and controversy on the issue, therefore, is unnecessary. “I am a Dalit but I am Hindu. I feel like visiting temples. I wanted to go to Dwarka temple. I have visited hundreds of temples. (I visited) Dwarka temple when I was Cabinet minister. I was asked about my caste,” Selja had said during the debate on ‘Commitment to the Constitution’.