‘Bi­har poll re­sult les­son for fringe Hindu el­e­ments’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) pres­i­dent Me­hbooba Mufti said on Satur­day the de­feat of the BJP in the Bi­har elec­tions had done a “great job” in dis­cour­ag­ing the fringe groups that have been “mis­us­ing” Hin­duism for po­lit­i­cal gain.

Mufti’s com­ments, made at the Hin­dus­tan Times Lead­er­ship Sum­mit in New Delhi, were os­ten­si­bly di­rected at some Union min­is­ters and BJP lead­ers’ con­tro­ver­sial re­marks which have fed a rag­ing na­tional de­bate over grow­ing in­tol­er­ance.

“In our coun­try there are fringe el­e­ments who are mis­us­ing the name of Hin­duism and they also com­pare it with na­tion­al­ism which is worse,” she said.

“The men­tal­ity is the same… It is the thought process that counts,” she said when asked how her party, which has an al­liance with the BJP in Jammu and Kash­mir, jus­ti­fies calls from some Union min­is­ter that those who sup­port eat­ing beef must “go to Pak­istan”.

Sev­eral BJP min­is­ters and lead­ers, in­clud­ing VK Singh, Kailash Vi­jay­vargiya and Yogi Adityanath, had re­cently courted con­tro­ver­sies with their state­ments, prompt­ing the party lead­er­ship to urge re­straint at a time when the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to win par­lia­men­tary ap­proval for key re­forms leg­is­la­tion.

“When peo­ple are try­ing to fight a bat­tle with ris­ing prices, don’t get onions, and sud­denly some peo­ple start dic­tat­ing which meat one should con­sume. This is not done. This is not ac­cept­able,” she said.

“But the Bi­har polls have done a great job. Cer­tain things are larger than elec­tions. Tol­er­ance is the strength of In­dia. Hin­duism had pro­vided this tol­er­ance while Is­lam had given equal­ity and Chris­tian­ity com­pas­sion and char­ity.”

Mufti also as­serted there will be no “fid­dling” with Ar­ti­cle 370 that ac­cords spe­cial sta­tus to Jammu and Kash­mir, re­act­ing to sug­ges­tions ear­lier this year from cer­tain BJP lead­ers that the con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion would even­tu­ally be scrapped. She said the con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion only strength­ens the re­gion’s bond with In­dia.

CON­TIN­UED ON P15

When peo­ple are try­ing to fight a bat­tle with ris­ing prices... sud­denly some peo­ple start dic­tat­ing which meat one should con­sume. This is not done. This is not ac­cept­able.

ME­HBOOBA MUFTI, PDP pres­i­dent

SANJEEV VERMA/HT PHOTO

■ PDP pres­i­dent Me­hbooba Mufti at an HT Lead­er­ship Sum­mit ses­sion. She said tol­er­ance was In­dia’s strength.

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