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Political battle over Bhagavad Gita

Political battle over Bhagavad Gita
Highlights

Opposition parties heavily came down on the Narendra Modi government after one of its senior ministers, Sushma Swaraj, urged the PM to declare the Bhagavad Gita a National Scripture. The Minister had on Sunday applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi\'s gesture of presenting the Gita to world leaders.

New Delhi: Opposition parties heavily came down on the Narendra Modi government after one of its senior ministers, Sushma Swaraj, urged the PM to declare the Bhagavad Gita a National Scripture. The Minister had on Sunday applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's gesture of presenting the Gita to world leaders.

"Prime Minister Modi gifted the Bhagavad Gita to US President Barack Obama, which means it has already received the honour of a national scripture. What we require is only a formal announcement now to officially declare the Gita as a national scripture," Swaraj had said at a meeting at the Red Fort held to commemorate 5,151 years of the Gita. Taking strong objection to her statements, the opposition cried hoarse and lambasted the government for trying to impose Hindutva ideology on the nation.

"Our Constitution says India is a secular country. The Constitution is the Holy Book in a democracy," said Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee. Congress leader Manish Tewari said. "if anybody has seriously read and internalised the teachings of the Gita, they would not make such a frivolous statement." West Bengal Left Front chairman and CPM politburo member Biman Bose termed her Sushma’s statement “yet another attempt to implement the ideologies of RSS and Hindutva in the country.”

DMK president M Karunanidhi said that the Constitution declares India a secular republic and the central government should treat all religions equally and follow secular principles. AAP's Manish Sisodia said Sushma's call is an insult to the scripture. "If they want the Gita to be announced as the national scripture, they are insulting Gita. The holy book is way above all this," he said.

"It is a dangerous, ideological position that the BJP is trying to impose on people. It is detrimental to the unity of nation," said Communist Party of India's D Raja. JD (U) president Sharad Yadav dismissed Swaraj's comments as “rubbish,” saying that “instead of focusing on the task of governance, the National Democratic Alliance leaders were raising mindless issues.”

"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. "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.

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