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Opposition, BJP face-off over Sushma Swaraj's call to make Bhagwad Gita the national scripture

Dec 08, 2014 01:08 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party is facing the flak yet again following External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's statement to make the Bhagwad Gita India's national scripture. Even before the controversy around Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's controversial remarks could die down, Sushma Swaraj is now facing the opposition fire for the proposal.

Hitting out hard at the External Affairs Minister, CPI leader D Raja said that such statements "damage the secular fabric of the democracy. It is a dangerous thing". Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati also said that Sushma Swaraj should think of the Constitution. "She should think we believe in various religions. Other religions will also raise the voice that their holy book should be made national books," she said.

Reacting to Swaraj's remarks, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) said only the Constitution is the "Holy Book" in a democracy while Congress called her statement "frivolous".

Not just the opponents, National Democratic Alliance's partner in Tamil Nadu, PMK also slammed Sushma's statements. "Gita is a holy book for one sect. It is improper to thrust it on all people in a secular country. He also says the move would strengthen arguments that that Modi government is turning India into a Hindu country," PMK chief Ramadoss said.

However, the BJP defended the minister saying that there was nothing wrong in her comments. "There is nothing wrong in what Sushma Swaraj has said. What is wrong in having a debate on it," BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

"I agree with what Sushmaji has said. Gita must be given the status of our national scripture," Shiv Sena MP Ananth Gete said.

Swaraj made the remarks while speaking at 'Gita Prerna Mahotsav', organised to celebrate 5,151 years of religious book Gita at the Red Fort Maidan in New Delhi where VHP President Ashok Singhal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should immediately declare the sacred text of Hindus as a national scripture.

Swaraj said that the respect of a "national scripture" was already accorded to Gita when Prime Minister Modi gifted it to US President Barack Obama during his visit to the country in September 2014. "Bhagwad Gita has answers to everybody's problems and that's why I said it while standing in the Parliament that, 'Shrimad Bhagwad Gita' should be declared as a rashtriya granth (holy scripture).

"The formal announcement for it hasn't been made since the (NDA) government came to power. But I am happy to say that the Prime Minister has already given it the honour of a national 'Rashtriya Granth' when he handed over the 'Shrimad Bhagwad Gita' to America's President Barack Obama. Only a formal announcement now remained," she had said.

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