Katheria backtracks on saffronisation comments, says even green or red will do

  • Agencies, Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 20, 2016 12:28 IST
Junior HRD minister Ramshanker Katheria earlier commented that saffronisation of education and the country would take place if it was good for the country. His statements immediately drew criticism. (ANI)

A day after saying saffronisation of education and the country would take place if it was good for India, junior human resource development (HRD) minister, Ramshanker Katheria, clarified his statements saying whatever is good for the country would be accepted, immaterial of the colour.

Katheria’s statements on Sunday stoked a new controversy when he stated education will get a saffronisation while addressing a function in Lucknow University. The BJP MP for Agra, and also Union minister of state for the HRD ministry, was invited to celebrate ‘Hindvi Swaraj Diwas Samaroh’ to mark the 342nd coronation year of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Read | Saffronisation of education will happen if it helps India: Smriti Irani’s deputy

However, by Monday, Katheria was quick to clarify that the country’s best interests would be upheld.

“I just said whatever is good for the nation, we’ll accept that; whether its Bhagwakaran (saffron) or green or red colour,” he said while speaking to ANI.

He further alleged that there was a conspiracy afoot to malign ‘Bhagwa’ (saffronisation).

“’Bhagwa’ ko badnaam karne ki koshish jaanboojh kar kii jaa rahi hai, ye theek nahin hai (there are attempts to bring a bad name to ‘saffron’, this isn’t right),” he said.

The opposition has relentlessly attacked the ruling NDA over what it perceives as a ‘saffron agenda’, including the centre’s emphasis on Sanskrit in education.

However, in his Sunday speech, Katheria was fairly direct in his meaning.

“It is for the benefit of the country and whatever is good for the country... Call it ‘bhagwakaran’ (saffronisation) or ‘sanghwad’ if you will, but it will be done,” he said.

Given the recent controversies over nationalism including the lynching of man suspected of eating beef in Bisada, the BJP leadership cautioned its members from making such statements. The party hopes to curry electoral favour in the next round of state assembly elections scheduled in 2017 by focusing on the “development agenda” of Modi’s government.

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