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Discourse signals grave danger: Sinha

The former BJP leader appealed to political parties and civil society groups to intensify their agitation
Yashwant Sinha

Sanjay K Jha   |   New Delhi   |   Published 29.01.20, 10:27 PM

Former BJP leader and one-time Union minister Yashwant Sinha on Wednesday alleged “grave danger” to Indian democracy from what he said was the BJP’s intention of dividing India along religious lines.

He complained that the institutions supposed to protect the constitutional culture weren’t doing their job.

“The intention of the ruling party and the government has been amply clear from the discourse for the Delhi elections,” Sinha, who is leading the Gandhi Shanti Yatra (Gandhi Peace March) from Mumbai to Delhi in protest against the new citizenship regime, told The Telegraph.

“They are dividing society on communal lines. They intend to keep the discourse that way — (focused) on the Hindu-Muslim divide.”

He added: “I have been meeting thousands of people during my yatra. People don’t want communal hatred to dominate the political discourse. The government is promoting hatred towards Muslims (although) there is no such feeling on the ground…. The language used by the top BJP leaders in the Delhi election (campaign) hasn’t been condemned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And what is the response of the institutions? They have let the country down at this critical juncture.”

Sinha, who reached Aligarh on Wednesday on his way to Mahatma Gandhi’s Samadhi at Rajghat in Delhi where the march will end, said the poll panel ought to have done more.

“The Election Commission should have acted with alacrity and taken much tougher action; they are issuing notices and delivering the mildest punishments as if ordinary violations have happened,” he said.

“Ministers are instigating people to shoot fellow citizens; an MP is saying Muslims will rape Hindu women; BJP candidate Kapil Mishra has spewed venom… horrendous! While home minister Amit Shah is fuelling this sentiment, the Prime Minister is least bothered.”

Sinha appealed to political parties and civil society groups to intensify their agitation.

“This is not an ordinary crisis. The Prime Minister is misleading and misguiding (people). He is asking Indians to worry about what is happening in Pakistan. His party and government are trying to create a fear of minorities in the minds of the majority community. Those who don’t accept this illogic are told to go to Pakistan. Then the Prime Minister is talking of finishing Pakistan in 10 days… what does he want?” he said.

Asked about the mood of the people with whom he had interacted during his march, Sinha said the “dominant feeling is anti-government”.

“The more the government is pressing on with these (citizenship) issues, the more disaffection and anger (there is) among the people. People are deeply worried about livelihood questions and social peace. They feel Modi has betrayed them; they are shocked by Amit Shah’s reckless attitude,” he said.

“And from my experience of dealing with people over the last 20 days (during the march), I have no doubt that the ant-CAA protests aren’t about (a) Hindu-Muslim (divide). Every right-thinking person is aggrieved.”

Sinha, a former Union finance minister, expressed deep concern at the economy.

“The truth about the pathetic state of affairs has been hidden (from the public) by the ministers. The government coffers are empty. The budget needs to take steps to generate demand but there is no money left to spend,” he said. “They are trying to sell public-sector units to mop up resources. The real problem is that any government would have focused on reviving the economy under these circumstance but Modi-Shah are least bothered. They are creating social unrest, which will be more detrimental to economic activities.”

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