New Delhi: Speaking in Raipur on Monday (November 13), Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath said that the word ‘secular’ has damaged India and is the “biggest lie” being told to the country since independence.
According to the Indian Express, Adityanath was responding to a question on secularism and communalism when he said, “Mera maanna hai ki azadi ke baad Bharat mein sabse bada jhooth dharmnirpeksh shabd hai. Nagrikon ke saath, Bharat ke logon ke saath… un logon ko maafi maangni chahiye, jinhone is shabd ko janm diya aur jo yeh shabd istemaal karte hai… koi vyavastha dharmnirpeksh nahin ho sakti. Rajneetik vyavastha panthnirpeksh ho sakti hai. Agar koi humse kahega ki shasan us upasna vidhi se chalni chahiye, toh nahin chal sakti. UP ke andar dekhunga to 22 crore logon ko dekhna hoga. Mein in logon ke suraksha ke prati, unki bhavnaon ke prati javabdeh hoon. Lekin ek samuday ka dushtikaran karne ke liye bhi nahin baitha hoon. Panthnirpeksh ho lekin dharmnirpeksh nahin ho sakta. (I believe that the word secular is the biggest lie since independence. Those that have given birth to this lie and those that use it should apologise to the people and this country. No system can be secular. Political system can be sect-neutral. If someone were to say that government has to be run by one way of prayer, that is not possible. In UP, I have to look at 22 crore people and I am answerable for their security and their feelings. But I am not sitting here to ruin one community either. You can be sect-neutral but not secular).”
Speaking to The Wire, historian and professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University Mridula Mukherjee said that Adityanath’s statements on secularism suggest that he does not understand the legacy of the freedom struggle or the spirit of the constitution. “It seems that according to him, the entire legacy and thinking of the freedom struggle is a lie. Whether it was Gandhi, Tagore or Patel, or Kripalani, they were all committed to secularism. I think he (Adityanath) does not understand the legacy of the freedom struggle or the India that was built afterwards; he also doesn’t understand the constitution, which has a completely secular spirit.”
The chief minister in his speech also said that “distorting history” is akin to sedition and that “Pakistan” is used as an abuse in Europe, as is “Paki”.
Adityanath also accused the Congress of dividing the country by trying to appease certain sections and said that the party was responsible for the problems India is facing now. “It practised politics of appeasement for political gains and gave birth to scourge of terrorism, Naxalism and separatism. The country is still paying the price (for its policies),” NDTV quoted the BJP leader as saying. “If the Congress leadership had discharged its duties, the country would not have been grappling with starvation and lack of health facilities. If anyone is responsible for the country’s mismanagement, it is the 55-year rule of the Congress.”
Comparing the Narendra Modi government to Ram rajya, Adityanath said that the Ram rajya is considered the best model of good governance across the world. He also said that Modi had brought around achhe din for the poor: “The people ask what Prime Minister Modi has done in three years and when ‘achhe din’ will come. We should tell them that we gave electricity to the poor who did not have a power connection even after 70 years of independence. The poor who had never seen banks now have a bank account. It’s achhe din for them.”
Speaking in Ayodhya last month, the UP chief minister had also said that he would bring Ram rajya to the city. “Pradesh sarkar vikas ke madhyam se Ram Rajya ki parikalpana saakar karna chahti hai (The government wants to bring Ram Rajya through development),” Indian Express quoted him as saying. He had added then that there is no discrimination in a Ram rajya.
A Deccan Herald report has also said that as part of the state government’s spree to paint everything saffron – from buses to the chief minister’s office – cover pages of school textbooks upto class 8 will also be saffron from the start of the next academic session. The books will also have pictures of Adityanath and education minister Dinesh Sharma, according to the newspaper.
On Tuesday, Adityanath will be in Ayodhya again to begin the BJP’s campaign for the urban local body elections, to be held in three phases from November 22.