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Congress glare on ‘politics of hatred’

New Delhi, July 26: The Congress plans to raise the issue of growing communal tension across the country in a big way in Parliament next week as it feels there is a deliberate attempt to polarise voters in extremely sensitive states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The Congress political affairs committee has decided to focus on communalism and women’s safety in Parliament. Rahul Gandhi set the tone for the discourse by issuing a statement that said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of clashes in Saharanpur.

“Violence, divisiveness and hatred have no place in our country. This politics of hatred must end. I appeal to everyone to remain calm and refrain from fanning communal passions.”

Apart from clashes in Saharanpur in which two persons were killed, the continuing tension in Moradabad, the ugly incident of force-feeding a fasting Muslim employee at Maharashtra Sadan and a Goa minister’s assertion on Hindu rashtra have prompted the Congress to suspect a design.

While Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi are going to polls, there are a large number of bypolls coming up in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Anand Sharma, the Congress deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, today said: “There is an attempt at communal polarisation in the country in a pre-planned manner.

“The BJP was saying different things during the election campaign but they brought communal politics in a very subtle way. Now, it is brazen. In the little over two months that they have been in power, the country has seen flare-ups, tensions, destruction of places of worship, not only in UP but in different parts of the country.”

Sharma added: “The right-wingers have now assumed a threatening posture which militates against our composite culture and secular fabric. Religion cannot be used to create polarisation.”

He also defended the party’s decision to hold a “peace march” to Moradabad, which was halted midway by the authorities.

BJP leaders too reached Moradabad today to lodge a complaint against the senior superintendent of police who, according to them, had demonstrated communal bias in handling a tense situation.

On July 4, clashes had erupted between BJP workers and police in Kanth over a mahapanchayat called by the party to protest against the removal of a loudspeaker from a shrine. Moradabad has been tense since then.

The denial of permission to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for a religious programme has deepened the controversy. Congress spokespersons have claimed the Sangh parivar was deliberately trying to create tension in the state.

These issues are bound to affect Parliament’s functioning next week. The Congress is also planning to adopt an aggressive posture because of the possible denial of leader of Opposition post after the opinion given by the attorney-general.

The Congress yesterday termed the AG’s opinion the government’s view. Sharma today claimed he was a “political appointee” and it was unfortunate that he gave an opinion “to please the political masters”.

Sharma asserted that the AG’s justification to deny the office of leader of the Opposition to the Congress would not stand the scrutiny of law. He alleged the Speaker was working under the BJP’s pressure.