Vajpayee prepares for a new chapter in Hindu-Muslim relations

PTI | ByTarun Basu and MR Narayan Swamy (Indo-Asian News Service), New Delhi
May 04, 2004 11:45 AM IST

Prime Minister Vajpayee has said that he wants to see "a new chapter in Hindu-Muslim relations" that will enable India to develop its full potential.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has said that he wants to see "a new chapter in Hindu-Muslim relations" that will strengthen national unity and enable India to develop its full potential.

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Saying he is glad to see that his call for Hindu-Muslim unity is being widely appreciated, Vajpayee asserts that conditions in the country are now "ripe for its fructification". "I want to see a new chapter in Hindu-Muslim relations, so that our national unity is further strengthened and India is able to develop to her full potential," Vajpayee said in an interview with IANS.

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Underlining that extremism of any kind was bad for India, the Vajpayee said: "Indian society has never held that there is only one faith and one path to realise God."

"This is why discrimination on religious grounds is repugnant to our national ethos. Indeed, secularism in this sense is so much of an inherent part of our society and culture that the founders of our constitution did not even consider it necessary to explicitly mention the word 'secularism' in its preamble.It was a later addition during the emergency (rule of former prime minister Indira Gandhi 1975-76), when no debate on it was possible."

"The Congress party added it purely for narrow political gains. Since then the Congress and the communists have been propagating a perverted meaning of secularism with the sole aim of isolating the BJP. However, they have failed in their objective," Vajpayee added.

Asked to comment about the reported remarks of BJP candidate in Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath, that he would accept Muslim votes only if they were "cleaned" with water from the Ganga,  Vajpayee said: "I strongly disapprove of the statement attributed to a BJP MP that you have referred to. If he has said it, then it is wrong."


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