New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party today downplayed the ‘Akhand Bharat’ remarks of its general secretary Ram Madhav, saying while he has a right to his own views, the party and the government are clear that India and Pakistan are two sovereign nations.
Responding to a series of questions on the issue, party spokesperson M J Akbar recalled the speech of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee delivered in Lahore in 1999 in which he had said that India and Pakistan negotiate as sovereign nations. “And that fact is a fact,” he said.
When asked why an important general secretary made these remarks when the stand of the party and the government are clear, he said Madhav “was answering to a particular question…he has a right to his own views. But the government’s position requires no clarification.”
Madhav had said that the RSS believes that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will one day reunite again not by war but through “popular goodwill”.
“The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) still believes that one day these parts, which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and Akhand Bharat will be created,” he told Al Jazeera channel.
The BJP general secretary said, “As an RSS member, I also hold on to that view.”
Though the interview was recorded earlier, its broadcast coincided with the surprise visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore to meet his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
Madhav, an RSS pracharak himself, said, India is “a land where a particular way of life, a particular culture or civilisation, is practised.”
“We call it Hindu – do you have any objection? India has one culture. We are one culture, one people, one nation,” he told the channel.
Madhav said the RSS ideology is for the supremacy of India and the organisation is neither “fascist” nor “aggressive”.
On the controversy over returning of awards by writers and intellectuals, he said, a small number of people do not represent the entire country’s views and there were a very large number of intellectuals who did not support this award.
Madhav said they were doing it “to defame the government and in turn to defame the image of India” and termed as “wrong” their method of protest.
Taking forward the RSS’s “akhand bharat” (united India) argument, Madhav cited the examples of Germany and Vietnam, saying that if they can come together, why not India and Pakistan.
“If two Germanies can come together, if two Vietnams can come together. What makes you think that the two, Pakistan and India, cannot come together… It can happen,” he said.
Later in a tweet, the BJP leader said, “My Al Jazeera interview was recorded on December 7. Its telecast yesterday was a coincidence. Those who try to link it to any other event may note.”
CPI denounces Madhav
Reacting to Madhav’s comments, the Communist Party of India today said the BJP general secretary’s ‘Akhand Bharat’ remarks were the “surest way” of “derailing” any efforts towards a dialogue with Pakistan.
Terming his statement as “highly provocative and deplorable”, CPI leader D Raja said “it is the surest way to derail any effort for a dialogue with Pakistan.”
He said Madhav and RSS should acknowledge the reality that today India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are sovereign nations.
He also demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP on their stand on ‘Akhand Bharat’.
Madhav had said that RSS believes that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will one day reunite again not by war but through “popular goodwill”, but BJP today played down his remarks.