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Oppn slams Sushma Swaraj’s suggestion on Bhagwad Gita; Cong remains silent

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New Delhi (Dec. 08, 2014): NCP and Samajwadi Party slammed Union Minister and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj’s suggestion to declare Bhagwad Gita as a national scripture, saying it goes against the secular nature of the Constitution.

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP said all faiths should be treated equally and no person has the right to hurt the religious sentiments of others.

“I am a Hindu and proud of my religion’s rich heritage. But does that mean I have the right to hurt the sentiments of other religions? All religions should be treated equally.

“BJP, by making such comments, is only trying to provoke people of other religions. We are a secular nation and it is very unfortunate they (BJP) have taken the first step of changing the secular fabric of our Constitution,” NCP leader Jitendra Awhad said.

Samajwadi Party (SP) too slammed BJP and said if the holy book of one religion can be accorded a national status, so can be the book of other faiths.

“Gita is a religious book. If you can accord it national importance, why can’t you do the same with the Quran and Bible too? This is a secular nation. We should respect all faiths but we cannot accord national status to any book. SP strongly criticises her (Swaraj’s) statement,” the party’s Maharashtra unit President Abu Azmi said.

“BJP has not been brought to power in the name of religion but for development, to eradicate corruption and bring black money back. They should concentrate on these issues,” the SP legislator said.

Both Awhad and Azmi were here to participate in the winter session of Maharashtra legislature.

Meanwhile, Congress refrained from commenting on the issue. “Has she said it in foreign countries? You are saying that the foreign minister has said this (but) I have not seen it. So, it is very difficult to articulate the party’s views on it,” Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told reporters here.

Speaking at a function in Delhi yesterday, the External Affairs Minister had pressed for the Centre to declare the Gita as a ‘Rashtriya Granth’ (national scripture), a demand which sparked a controversy.