Refrain from making comments on religion, culture: Nadda to BJP MPs
Nadda on Friday held a virtual interaction with BJP lawmakers and underlined the need to refrain from fostering narratives that could be perceived as polarising, said a party functionary.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president JP Nadda on Friday directed party leaders to refrain from making comments about religious and cultural issues, and steer clear of controversies that have communal undertones, people familiar with the matter said.
Nadda on Friday held a virtual interaction with BJP lawmakers and underlined the need to refrain from fostering narratives that could be perceived as polarising, said a party functionary. He asked party MPs to stick to a discourse that centred around the Narendra Modi government’s “development agenda”.
“He (Nadda) told the MPs that they should not position themselves as experts on issues of race, religion and culture. They need not get involved in controversies or speak up for controversial personalities such as Dhirendra Krishna Shastri of the Bageshwar Dham,” said the functionary, requesting anonymity.
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Recently, several BJP leaders including Madhya Pradesh chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited the Bageshwar Dham in Chhatarpur district which has been in the eye of a storm over the comments about how India should be a “Hindu Rashtra”.
Nadda is learnt to have told the lawmakers that if anyone wanted to visit Bageshwar Dham, they should keep their visit “private” and not use the occasion to make political statements.
Though Nadda did not name anyone, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari was recently seen sharing the stage with Shastri and singing songs eulogising the “Hindu Rashtra”.
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This is not the first time that the BJP has instructed its leaders to disassociate from controversies over religious issues and practices. After the party expelled its spokesperson Nupur Sharma for making derogatory comments about Prophet Mohammed during a television debate last year, the BJP leadership barred spokespersons to participate in debates over religious issues.
Addressing the BJP national executive committee meeting last month, Prime Minister Modi also instructed the party leaders to avoid making comments that take attention away from the government’s development agenda and from the hard work that the party and the government are putting in to ensure the saturation of welfare schemes.
“Nadda told the lawmakers that they should focus on creating awareness about the provisions of the Union Budget, the aspects of the President’s joint address in Parliament, strengthening the party’s presence at the booth level and organise sporting events in their respective constituencies,” a second functionary said, also declining to be named.