Tale of Shiv Sena MPs, Muslim and chapati: Modi Government must walk the talk on inclusive politics

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Shiv Sena
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has really tough task ahead. At one hand, he has to live up to the expectations of people by controlling rising inflation and resuscitating flagging economy and on the other hand, he has to control unruly leaders who are taking advantage of the fact that they are enjoying the power.

After Pravin Togadia's (president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad) communal remark, issuing veiled warning to minority that they may have forgotten the 2002 Gujarat riots but they should remember the Muzaffarnagar riots, the latest is by BJP's ally Shiv Sena who forced a catering manager to break his Ramzan fast.

According to an Indian Express report, last week at the new Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi, 11 Shiv Sena MPs forced Arshad Zubair S to eat roti when he was observing his fast for Ramzan. The MPs of BJP ally were apparently angry on the matter that why they were not served Maharashtrian food by Muslim man.

Earlier VHP leaders had given divisive statements

Acting strongly on the outrageous act of MPs, Indian Railways immediately suspended the catering service. Raising the issue, the deputy general manager of IRCTC, Shankar Malhotra shot a letter to Maharashtra resident commissioner Bipin Mallick.

IRCTC manager Malhotra wrote, "The specific incident happened with the Resident Manager/IRCTC, Arshad who was forced to consume full chapati whilst he was fasting. The concerned has been deeply pained and hurt on this account as religious sentiments are attached".

Opposition got fodder

Though Shiv Sena has ourightly rejected the allegations but it has definitely landed the Modi Government on slippery ground. Parliament has witnessed the uproar over the issue. "It is a serious issue, where sentiments of a section of society have been violated, we must know what has happened", Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha said.

Stepping up the ante, the NCP leader Tariq Anwar said, "Shiv Sena isn't a responsible party and it has always been a group of anti-social people."

Pushed to wall after the incident, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that when whole fact will come to light then only discussion will take place.

"Nobody knows what the facts are, we must first get the facts, then discuss," Naidu said.

Recent statements by VHP leaders

Pro-Hindutva party Shiv Sena is not new for such controversies. Last month, party leader Prataprao Ganpatrao had raked up the storm saying that they would unfurl saffron flag on the Red Fort which had invited massive uproar in Lok Sabha. Then their protest against Pakistani cricket team and their musical bands are well known.

At a time when Narendra Modi Government is trying to improve image among minority which got beating after 2002 riots such statements will further alienate them. Shiv Sena's insensitive act has come to fore just after VHP leaders Ashok Singhal and Pravin Togadia's divisive statements.

Citing massive mandate that BJP got in Lok Sabha election, right-wing Hindu leader Ashok Singhal said that minority must understand that poll could be won without their support. The VHP leader said that it's high time the minority community must learn to respect Hindu sentiments."

"Muslims will be treated as common citizens -nothing more, nothing less. And, they must learn to respect Hindu sentiments. If they keep opposing Hindus, how long can they survive?", Singhal had said in an interview to a daily.

Another VHP leader Pravin Togadia recently said, "Aap Gujarat bhul gaye honge, par aapko Muzaffarnagar yaad hoga."

Earlier, in April this year, the Hindu extremist said that Muslims shouldn't be allowed to buy property in Hindu areas.

Modi should walk the talk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his campaigning days has been saying that Muslims will not be discriminated at any cost and working in the direction Government had allocated 100 cr fund for Madarasa modernisation programme in Union Budget.

"When we talk about minorities, there is a feeling among them that there is discrimination in getting opportunities. They should be given opportunities to come forward," party manifesto said.

The BJP is trying hard to reach out to the minority with its developmental programme but these statements will definitely be a dampener in the direction. Recently, Najma Heptulla claimed that confidence of minority in party is increasing and reason behind is its "development-for-all" agenda.

"Muslims have voted for the BJP (in recent Lok Sabha elections) and they are slowly getting their confidence in voting for the BJP because it's for the first time in the history of India that any leader has focused on development in a national election and talked about inclusive development, both for majority and minority in the entire nation and Muslims are included in it," Union Minister said.

No takers for appeasement politics

The thumping victory by BJP in Lok Sabha election is big proof that people have rejected this minority appeasement agenda of so-called secular parties like the Congress, the SP and the BSP. Believing in inclusive people voted for Narendra Modi's development agenda.

But such divisive statements from mature politicians like Togadia and that of VHP patron Ashok Singhal will definitely jeopardise Government's bet to induce the sense of confidence amongst Muslims. They (minority) will start believing in Opposition that BJP is not party for them.

The Government must take cognisance of the issue and sent out a clear message that BJP believes in politics of inclusive growth and development not in appeasement. But for that Prime Minister has to walk the talk and pull up hard to these unruly leaders. Prime Minister should sent out message loud and clear that BJP's coming in power is not the licence to blabber about minority community.

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