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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Votebank politics at its worst: BJP

Anita Saluja | ENS
First Published : 16 Oct 2008 11:10:00 AM IST
Last Updated :

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party has sharpened its offensive against the Congress-led UPA government following the latest controversy arising from the written submission filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court that the Ramar Sethu does not form an integral part of Hindu religion.

As with the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, which holds appeal to north Indians, the BJP has identified the Ramar Sethu, revered by people in the south.

The Ramar Sethu issue has come at an opportune time for the BJP, in the run-up to the Assembly elections in some northern states in November and the parliamentary elections early next year.

The party’s Tamil Nadu-incharge Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said the Centre’s affidavit on Ramar Sethu was a deliberate design to hurt Hindu sentiments. It was votebank politics at its worst.

He questioned the government’s locus standi to decide on what did or did not constitute an integral part of the Hindu religion. The government could not arrogate to itself the authority. “What is the historical, philosophical, cultural and spiritual basis for this stand, which is highly condemnable?” he asked.

Ravi Shankar Prasad recalled that in its earlier affidavit in the Supreme Court, the government had questioned the very existence of Lord Ram. In the wake of public outrage, it was forced to withdraw the affidavit. In the latest affidavit, the government acknowledged Ramar Sethu, but claimed that Lord Ram destroyed it after returning from Sri Lanka. The claim was based on spurious and selective reading of certain scriptures, he said.

Culturally, India was described as Asethu Himachal.

The larger question that remained was whether the UPA Government could take such a disrespectful and derogatory stand about the revered symbols of other faiths. “The BJP believes that genuine secularism means proper respect to religions and faiths and not deliberate, consistent and conscious abuse and hurting of Hindu sentiments,” the party spokesperson said.

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