Millennium Post

Don’t let secularism debate hijack real issues: Yashwant

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Monday appeared to differ with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on the secular-communal divide saying such a discourse would deviate from real issues of economic downturn and corruption for which Congress should be held accountable. The BJP leader, however, was at pains to explain that he was not offering any advise to Modi on how he should conduct the campaign.

‘We should bring the debate back to current issues which are basically economic issues, the issue of poverty, the issue of bread and the issue of unemployment, these are the issues which are hurting people. It is not communalism or secularism, So we should bring the debate back to these issues,’ said Sinha.

Sinha’s remarks come a day after Modi accused the Congress of hiding behind a ‘burqa’ of secularism to escape from its failures, remarks that have touched off a raging controversy with Congress and other parties attacking the chief minister.

Sinha said the focus of the debate in the run up to the elections should be on the bad economic situation and other problems confronting the common man for which the Congress government is responsible and not on spurious communalism versus secularism debate.

In a newspaper article on Monday, Sinha has said that Congress should not be allowed to force a debate on its terms and that the real issues of economic crisis, price rise, misgovernance and corruption should be debated upon. This was interpreted as an advice to Modi to not to fall into the Congress trap.

‘The Modi-baiters have a clear gameplan the more he speaks, the more controversy they will create. The pre-election political discourse will, thus, be distorted and attention will shift from the mis-governance and corruption of this government to what happened more than 11 years ago in Gujarat. We must bring the discourse back from the past to the present,’ wrote Sinha  in his article.

‘The secular/communal divide in our polity is the most spurious of all divides. Rabid casteists are masquerading as champions of secularism. The real issues are the bread, onion and salt of the people. The real issue is corruption at every step in which this government has indulged. It will be a grave mistake to allow Congress to change the agenda and force a debate on its terms,’ wrote the BJP leader.

Terming the current debate on communalism and secularism as sterile and useless, Sinha said he has written to the entire political class not to get into it as no one is benefiting from it and instead focus on the issues and problems of the people.
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