NEW DELHI: Forming a government with the NCP and the Congress, the Shiv Sena has sought to jettison its Hindutva stand, leading to a backlash from a section of social media users.
The presence of the word "secularism" in the three parties' Common Minimum Programme has raised questions on social media. However, also being shared was the BJP's constitution, proclaiming its commitment to "secularism".
At this, the Bharatiya Janata Party has sought to clarify that the word "secularism" in its constitution differs from the Congress' meaning, and it believes the word signifies absence of discrimination against anyone on the grounds of religion.
Congress' Maharashtra leader Sachin Sawant, said in a tweet: "All those from @BJP4India who are harping on and questioning the word "Secular" in the Common Minimum Program of "MAHAVIKASAGHADI" must see what is mentioned in their own constitution."
Along with the tweet, Sawant shared the BJP constitution's Article II "Objective", whose second para reads: "The Party will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India."
In a response, BJP's national spokesperson Gopal Krishna Aggarwal told IANS that there is "a wide difference in the BJP's and the Congress' concept of secularism. For the Congress, secularism means appeasement of Muslims, whereas the BJP, to the Indian Constitution's sentiments, takes secularism to mean that no one should face discrimination due to their religion".
"I want to ask the Shiv Sena if it wants to own up to the BJP's definition or that of the Congress," he added.