Prime Minister Narendra Modi today came under sharp attack from various parties which used the handle provided by US President Barack Obama’s comments on religious tolerance and questioned whether he will rein in “lumpen elements” in the Sangh Parivar for course correction.
Congress, BSP and RJD were among the parties which came down heavily on Modi, saying the US leader had to make such comments because of the “communal and divisive politics” of the BJP-led NDA government.
Obama, before winding up his three-day India visit yesterday, made a strong pitch for religious tolerance and said that India will succeed so long it is not “splintered” on religious lines.
Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said he sincerely hoped that Modi “listened to the words of our guest and will do necessary course correction from unilateralisam to India’s inherent pluralism.”
Questioning whether Modi is “ready to look within, he wondered if Modi would “check lumpen elements within the Sangh Parivar who are tarnishing” the image of India as a land of peaceful cohabitation and co-existence of people of different faiths.
Lamenting that the BJP has been speaking in different voices on the issue of conversions, he said the truth is that RSS and its various outfits have been “attacking core fundamentals of India’s Constitutional ethos.”
BSP chief Mayawati said the “communal and divisive policy” of the NDA government has caused concerns among several countries so much so that the US President had to caution India against religious divide.
“The US President left with much fanfare yesterday and as a parting shot gave a stinging caution to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India should steer clear of religious extremism,” Mayawati said in a statement in Lucknow.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad, while attacking Modi, said his “divisive politics” was so apparent that the country is being sermonised by the US President on the importance of religious tolerance.
“The country which gave Mahatma Gandhi to the world, and whose principles of non-violence were emulated by Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela is being told by Obama that division on the basis of colour and religion is not right. What else if left now,” Prasad said in Patna.
“A big danger is hovering over our country as it is being divided in the name of religion. They (BJP) have come up with the bogey of conversion to remain in power. Thanks to Obama, we have recognised the true colours of (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi,” he added.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi termed Obama’s emphasis on religious tolerance as an indictment of “growing religious intolerance” during Modi’s rule.