New Delhi, Aug. 5: The Trinamul Congress today asked in Parliament why Narendra Modi had not shown the same fervour on Id that he had done at Pashupatinath temple, with the Congress seconding it, to the delight of BJP benches which hit back with the charge of appeasement politics.
“The Prime Minister went and offered pooja in Nepal with 2,400kg of ghee. We are all happy to see itů I appreciate the steps taken by the Prime Minister but it was equally expected that the Prime Minister should communicate Id Mubarak to others also,” Trinamul leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, adding that such gestures were needed for communal harmony.
Modi had taken 2,500kg of white sandalwood, but it is not known if ghee was also part of his offering.
The comment invited a strong protest from the BJP benches. “This government believes in sarva dharma sambhava. The Prime Minister visited Pashupatinath temple. He has also given his greetings to the whole Muslim community across the country,” parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said.
The Congress then asked why Modi had stopped the practice of the Prime Minister hosting an iftar during Ramazan, a tradition even the BJP’s father figure Atal Bihari Vajpayee had maintained when he was in office.
But the Speaker disallowed Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from raising the issue, claiming that holding iftars was a personal matter and could not be raised in the House.
“This is not the place to demand an iftar party,” Sumitra Mahajan said, adding that the government had talked about “sarva dharma sambhava (treating all religions equally)”.
The BJP benches then accused the Opposition of Muslim appeasement.
Congress MPs, angry at not being allowed to raise the iftar issue when BJP members were allowed their say, trooped to the Well raising the slogan “We want justice”. But the Congress later realised the issue had worked to the BJP’s advantage. “The party did not approve of Adhir raising the issue,” a senior leader said.
The BJP parliamentary party today passed a resolution to laud Modi’s “historic” Nepal visit and sought to target the previous UPA government, describing the trip as a “historical break from an unforgettable past”.