The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hindu and extremist' No way, says VHP

New Delhi, Dec. 31 (PTI): Reacting to the Prime Minister’s Goa musings, the VHP today asserted that no Hindu can be “narrow, rigid and extremist”.

The RSS reminded the Prime Minister of his own poetic description of a real Hindu as one who wages relentless war against evil.

In his musings, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had termed as “unacceptable and unfortunate” the projection of Hindutva by some people in a “narrow, rigid and extremist manner”.

Senior VHP vice-president Acharya Giriraj Kishore said: “No Hindu can ever be narrow, rigid and extremist. Hindutva is the main power of the country and the country is fast realising its strength. Those who say Hindutva cannot be the basis of progress are mistaken.”

Defending the VHP’s brand of aggressive Hindutva, he said from Pune: “We also believe that every action has a reaction.”

RSS joint spokesman Ram Madhav said: “It is not out of place to remind Vajpayee of his own poem ‘Hindu tan man, Hindu jeevan’ which described a real Hindu as the one who wages relentless war against evil.

“Those who are being wrongly portrayed (by media and others) as proponents of extreme Hindutva are in fact the followers of the spirit which was enunciated in that poem.”

Madhav, however, said Vajpayee’s views on Hindutva have always been “thought-provoking and inward looking”.

“Most of the thoughts in Vajpayee’s musings are completely in line with the thinking of a Swayamsevak, which Vajpayee is,” the RSS joint spokesman. “Hindutva, on the one hand, is liberal and all-encompassing while, on the other, it represents the strength of the noble.”

The Samata Party, a BJP ally, welcomed Vajpayee’s musings and said it was better to adhere to the concept of secularism.

“If Hindutva and secularism are the same, why not stick to secularism' It finds mention in our Constitution,” Samata general-secretary Shambhu Srivastava said.

PM extends stay

The Prime Minister has extended his year-end holiday in Goa by a day and would return to New Delhi on January 2, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar said in Panaji today.

Asked about the change in Vajpayee’s schedule, Parrikar said: “The Prime Minister liked Goa.”

Vajpayee was initially scheduled to leave tomorrow.

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