Shiv Sena-UBT leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday claimed last year gave a new 'aura' to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's leadership and if the trend continues in 2023, the country may see a political change in the next general elections.
In his weekly column Rokhthok in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Raut also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah should not sow 'seeds of hatred and divisiveness'.
The Rajya Sabha member said the Ram temple issue has been settled, so no votes can be sought on the matter.
'Hence, a new 'love jihad' angle is being explored. Is this weapon of 'love jihad' being used to win elections and create fear among Hindus?' he asked.
Referring to the death of actor Tunisha Sharma last month and the murder of Shraddha Walkar allegedly by her boyfriend, Raut asserted these were not cases of 'love jihad', but maintained that no woman from any community or religion should face atrocities.
'Love jihad' is a term often used by right-wing activists to allege a ploy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into religious conversion through marriage.
Raut said hope the country is free of fear in 2023.
'What is going on is politics of power. Hope Rahul Gandhi's yatra is successful and achieves its objective,' he said.
Gandhi started the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a mass contact initiative, from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, 2022 and it is likely to culminate in Srinagar this month-end.
'The year 2022 has given a new shine and aura to the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. If it remains the same in 2023, we can see a political change in 2024 (general elections),' Raut said.
He further wrote that Prime Minister Modi says 'we need to do away with the narrow-minded attitude'.
But, the fact is this attitude has grown in the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) rule, the Rajya Sabha member claimed.
'Today's rulers don't want to acknowledge the existence and rights of opposition parties,' he said.
Raut further claimed that creating divisions among Hindus and Muslims will lead to a new partition.
'Modi and Shah should not sow seeds of hatred and divisiveness,' he said.
Awakening Hindus is the BJP's agenda, but this does not mean creating hatred and divisiveness in society, Raut said, and targeted the government while claiming that issues of unemployment and price rise have been brushed aside.