Swamy, Owaisi Share the Stage for Ram Mandir
File Photo of BJP Leader Subramaniam Swami.
New Delhi: BJP MP Subramaniam Swamy and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi came together on the same stage here for the Times Lit Fest. On opposite ends of the political spectrum, the two came together to deliberate “Does India need a Ram temple - Building multi-cultural, multi-religious and inclusive societies".
When asked whether the temple issue, which made BJP a major force in 90s, was going to help the party in this election season, Swamy said, “Leave aside 1990s, today you ask me, we never contest polls on Ram Mandir. The last election we fought was on three things: leadership of Narendra Modi, Hindutva and fighting corruption."
"The journalist talk about development being the key factor – let me tell you Narsimha Rao did nothing except development but lost, Atal Bihari Vajpayee who talked about India Shining’, he lost, Rajiv Gandhi who brought great industrial development, lost. Morarji Desai who brought down prices, lost. This shows development is necessary but not sufficient. For sufficiency, you need emotions and that come from cultural values,” he added.
Owaisi, responding to this, said, “Emotion is fine but destruction of Constitution is not fine. Emotions cannot break law.”
Trying to strike a balanced note, Swamy disassociated communal slogans with the temple movement. “This (communal) slogan was not raised by the leaders of the movement. In a mob, people express themselves but this does not define Hindutva (sic),” he said.
“I will tell my government to build a grand Babri Masjid across the Saryu River but not on Ramjanambhoomi,” he added.
On his part, Owaisi tried to bust his image as an Islamic hardliner and said, “I am neither the torchbearer nor the representative of the Muslim community. But I have a view point, whether people like it or not, I will put it forward… If putting my viewpoint pertaining to minority makes me a prisoner of hatred so be it (sic).”
To this, Swamy said, “I have a viewpoint also like him bit the difference is mine is the majority viewpoint.”
Questioning the composite culture of the country, Owaisi asked, “Why the number of Muslim MPs is going down? Why was the finest example of the composite culture Babri Masjid demolished? Will the Sangh apologize to Buddhist because King Shashank destroyed thousands of Buddhist stupas (sic)?”
The two, however, shared their faith in the Constitution and it's definition of secularism. “Secular activities will be secular, which means the Prime Minister, the President and the MPs of the country are chosen irrespective of their religion,” Owaisi said. "This country has always celebrated every religion and also celebrated people who do not believe God."
Owaisi also had praise to offer for Swamy. Expressing displeasure at the government's recent demonetisation policy, he said, “Had Swamy been the Finance Minister this kind of demonetization would not have taken place.”
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