Expressing worry over rising communal tensions in parts of the country, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar on Monday said the total approach of the BJP and some of its organisations seems to be about creating communal problems in India.
The veteran politician said the NCP plans to contest in a limited number of seats, especially in north Karnataka region, during the 2023 assembly polls, and it will discuss with secular parties in the state in this regard to ensure ‘secular votes’ don’t get divided.
“As on today, the situation is quite serious in some parts of India. For instance, we had never heard of trouble during Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti, but now we have got information that in at least five to six states, there is lot of problem. There is a sort of communal tension,” Pawar told reporters here.
The reason for this situation is that the total approach of the BJP and some of its organisations seems to be about creating communal problems in India, he alleged
“….what happened in Delhi in the last two days, the feedback that I have received is that certain sections have been targeted… Unfortunately, when we speak about Delhi, the law and order there is not with (Delhi CM Arvind) Kejriwal. It is the responsibility of the central government, and it has to see to it that there is no communal trouble,” he said, adding that the central government has to be very effective, and take strong action.
Clashes had broken out during a Hanuman Jayanti procession in the Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area on Saturday in which nine policemen and a civilian were injured.
Pointing out that he recently received a communication from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with a suggestion about organising a meeting of secular parties and non-BJP chief ministers aimed at facing communal forces, Pawar said discussions are on in this regard.
Asked if the Congress would be part of this meeting, he said, “When it is about bringing all secular parties together on certain national issues, we cannot bypass the Congress. We have to take them along.”
He also alleged that in many states, certain agencies like the ED, CBI, and Income Tax, have been used to create a sort of difference in situation to the political parties that are against the ruling BJP.
Asked about the Maharashtra Home Minister’s statement about the director general of police and Mumbai police commissioner preparing guidelines on the use of loudspeakers, Pawar stated that he immediately has no information about the decision, but added that as per his knowledge, they (the government) are likely to put some conditions like taking permission for installation of such speakers among others.
Regarding reports on a likely ban on the Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), he said, “If any organisation is creating some trouble, which will affect the society at large and if any government takes a decision to curb it…I will not say no.”
Stating that the NCP has not had much presence or has done sufficient work in Karnataka till today, Pawar said the party has recently taken the decision to start work to build the party in the state, along with Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.
He said the party has opened an office in Bengaluru and has appointed R Hari as its state president.
Noting that the NCP will be contesting in a few seats during the 2023 assembly polls in Karnataka, Pawar said R Hari along with some workers will organise a padayatra (march) in parts of north Karnataka.
After analysing the ground situation and getting the feedback, the party will decide on how many seats to contest in the polls.
“Let me make it clear. We are not going to contest in many seats…our thinking as on today is, in the backdrop of the situation in the country, we have to bring secular forces together, and while bringing secular forces together, our efforts should be to also see to it that secular votes are not divided. From that angle, we will try to discuss with secular parties, initially with Congress and then with JD(S), and contest in limited seats,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar met Pawar.
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