Jammu: National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Monday decried exploitation of religious sentiments for political and electoral gains, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take a lead in ending the malady in the larger interest of retaining secular fabric of India.
“The country of Mahatma Gandhi cannot afford to get fragmented into bits and pieces on the basis of religion to satiate the political agendas of a few political outfits,” Farooq said while addressing NC OBC Cell functionaries at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan here this afternoon, adding that nothing better can be expected from the reactionary forces, who were now taking pride in decorating the killer of the Father of Nation.
He expressed concern over vitiating the ongoing Gujarat elections on religious basis and described it as a saddest development in the Indian polity. He hoped the Prime Minister to appreciate danger of communal polarization, adding that New Delhi should introspect over the sordid state of political affairs.
“Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of all, irrespective of religious or regional affiliations and this fact should neither be ignored nor undermined”, Farooq said, hoping that he (Modi) will not allow himself to get swayed by petty politics. He advised the BJP and the RSS to refrain from generating passions and exploiting public sentiments, especially during elections, adding that the growing trend of dividing the nation on religious lines is detrimental to the national interest and such a tendency should be eschewed at all costs. He lamented the attempts of provoking people to fight over Mandir and Masjid issues just in furtherance of political objectives. He said India does not belong to a specific religion but it is a beautiful vase of flowers of different colours. The people of all the faiths have equal rights in secular India, he added.
“In the prevailing vicious atmosphere, National Conference has a challenging role to keep the flag of secularism aloft,” Abdullah said and recalled the sacrifices offered by its top leaders and front-ranking workers during the horrendous days of 1947. He said this spirit, bequeathed by Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, will continue to guide the people in general and the cadre in particular in shaping destiny of the State.
Abdullah exhorted women and weaker sections of society to participate in the elections to grass roots democratic institutions in a big way, saying this was imperative for their politico-economic empowerment.