PM deviating from the real issues: Tariq Anwar

General Secretary of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, Tariq Anwar has been very articulate.

-Vinod K Shukla

He spoke to Absolute India correspondent Vinod K Shukla on diverse issues. Excerpts:

How do you see the present scenario of the country where it is divided in the name of caste, religion and economic disparity ruling the roost?
BJP and its affiliates are well aware that they can’t win elections on the agenda of development, hence they rake up the issues like Ram Mandir, Triple Talaq and now they are talking about Muslim appeasement. They have always intended to polarize the elections just to reap the electoral benefits. But we cannot answer communalism in the same manner as we have different model. We are trying to face it but religious fanaticism is difficult to handle. The task is arduous for secular parties as they are sailing against the wind.

Rahul Gandhi too is visiting temple and mixing religion with politics. Why different yardstick for the BJP and the Congress?
Visiting temple or mosque or following any faith is a matter of personal choice. Congress has never mixed religion with politics but BJP does it. For Congress religion has always been a private affair.

If the BJP talks about religion you evoke cast and talk reservation to get votes…
No! There is a difference as reservation is provided as per constitutional provisions. Constitution has provisions of reservation for poor and downtrodden to provide them level playing field. Backward class is being uplifted to mainstream through the reservation.

General elections are not very far off and speculation is rife that construction of Ram Temple might start any time to make it an issue. Your comment!
I completely agree with Kapil Sibal that the hearing on the issue of Ram Janm Bhoomi should start after 2019 General Elections. There has been no decision on the matter from last 25 years but if there is any advancement in the matter before the General Elections there would be definitely an impact on the elections. This might disturb the environment of the country because I doubt if both the groups would accept the court’s decision. However, the court’s decision must be accepted by all but statements coming from the Sangh Pariwar leaders have been such that apparently they won’t accept the court decision and they would again make an issue of it.

All India Muslim Personal Law Board claims that they would accept the court verdict but VHP is saying that this is a matter of faith and temple should be built by bringing a bill in Parliament. Your comment!
BJP itself doesn’t wants to sort out this matter, neither through court’s decision nor through the dialogue. They want to keep this dispute alive just to use it for their electoral gains. BJP wants to reap political benefit out of it.

BJP government is bringing a bill in Parliament banning Triple Talaq. What impact it will have on the society?
As far as Triple Talaq is concerned, the Supreme Court has ruled that instant Triple Talaq is not permitted even in Quran. Muslim community has accepted ban on instant Triple Talaq and its way out has been suggested by the SC. But every community has some such issues where man deserts their wife without even giving divorce to them. What assistance the government has been contemplating for them?

Some experts say demonetization and GST have impacted economy adversely. Will it have electoral impact too?
The entire election in Gujarat is being contested on GST and demonetization. Claims made by the Prime Minister that GST and demonetization were a well thought of decisions which would have right impact on the economy but actually he is getting the feedback that they are impacting the economy negatively so he has started talking about religious and emotive issues. The amendments in GST were made looking at the Gujarat elections but it will become a bigger electoral issue in 2019 with slow growth and lost employment opportunities.

The government started dialogue with Kashmiris but is gun the only answer for the Kashmir issue?
Kashmir issue cannot be solved by military or paramilitary. It is important to deal with foreign mercenaries and neutralising terrorists but until and unless the people of Kashmir are not taken into confidence the matter will not be solved. The only way out is to enter into dialogue with Kashmiris. We were saying it from very long time to restart dialogue.

Opposition‘s voice is not united so how do you plan to take on the might of the BJP?
We accept that there is contradiction among the opposition but there is a consensus also on the issue that the BJP must be rooted out of power and for that all the political parties must get united. There might not be a consensus in opposition on all the issues but there is an agreement on all important issues. We are trying that the votes of opposition don’t get divided.

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