Muslim voting issue: Govt, BJP delink from Sena’s comments

Monday, Apr 13, 2015,20:17 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Government and BJP today distanced itself from Shiv Sena’s controversial remarks for scrapping voting rights of Muslims, saying such suggestions are unacceptable and against the Constitution as there cannot be any discrimination on the basis of religion on the issue.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said Government is committed to the Constitution that grants equal voting rights to all and there cannot be any differentiation. He also said that the government is committed to defending the equal rights of all as per Constitution.
The suggestion to deny voting rights to anybody, even for the sort of a discussion, is not acceptable at all. The Constitution does not accept it and people of India do not accept it, he said, adding that the right to vote is a Constitutional right available to all citizens, irrespective of their social or economic status.
Shiv Sena had yesterday courted controversy by demanding withdrawal of voting rights of Muslims, saying the community has often been used for vote bank politics, evoking sharp reactions from several political parties which accused it of trying to inflame passions and divide people. An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ had also likened the All India Majlis-e-Ittihadul-Muslimeen (MIM) and Owaisi brothers to poisonous snakes who spew venom to exploit the minority community
Naidu said, We are committed to defend and uphold the Constitutional rights of all citizens. This government is committed to the Constitution. We don’t say any such suggestion or purported suggestion, he said.
Minorities, including Muslims, are as much the citizens of our country as anybody else and there cannot be any differentiation on any grounds, he said.
When asked about the controversy, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, Untouchability should come to an end. He declined to elaborate.
BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said the demand is a personal statement made by Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and BJP distances itself from the same. He said the country is run through the Constitution that provides equal rights to all. This country is run through Constitution and not by writing editorials or TV programmes.
This may be his personal view and we do not subscribe to it. Any citizen who attains the age of 18 years has voting rights as per Constitution. Awaisi brothers are known for doing communal politics, but that does not mean that voting rights of the entire community be taken away, he said.
Hitting out at Raut for demanding revocation of voting rights of Muslims, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi said the ruling BJP cannot dissociate itself from his statement as he is a leader of Sena, its ally, and asked it to take action against him. He (Raut) has no right whatsoever to seek such a revocation of any Indian. He has no right whatsoever, leave aside Muslims, Owaisi said, adding that no one has the right to usurp the power of voting from anyone.
The real agenda of fascist Hindu forces is being exposed now. Their ideology is to promote hatred. Shiv Sena is not just an ally of BJP, but they are sharing power. Now does the ruling party (BJP) share the same views? the Hyderabad MP sought to know,while adding that they want the Hindutva agenda to be implemented with their brute majority and it is good that the people are seeing them.
Owaisi said the BJP cannot disassociate saying it’s an individual opinion and Raut is a fringe element. He is not a fringe element. He is the main element. They are a part of the government. When the PM (Narendra Modi) speaks at a UN forum (during his ongoing foreign visit), their ally speaks like this, he said.
Slamming the Shiv Sena MP for his most unconstitutional and unwarranted view, CPI said that it vehemently condemns the stand and called on the Maharashtra outfit to desist from espousing such ideas. The party further said that Raut’s opinion, as expressed in an editorial, would only aggravate the problem and lead to communal polarisation at a time when remarks by Sangh Parivar leaders are already spreading venom in the minds of people.
The CPI National Secretariat vehemently condemns the statement by the Sena leader. Such a statement is most unconstitutional and undemocratic, party general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said in a statement.