NEW DELHI -- The Left and Congress today attacked the government on the issue of intolerance saying the Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance and the country will not move forward with majoritarianism.
Rejecting the charge, the Government said tolerance is the essence of India's culture and values and the country belongs equally to Hindus and Muslims or any other religion.
It alleged that the "so-called" intellectuals with Left ideology were "giving lessons on intolerance" as they were unable to digest BJP's victory.
Congress and Left claimed the Bihar poll verdict was the result of the Narendra Modi Government's "skewed policies" and a "reverse wave" has started against BJP, which rejected it saying the opposition is unable to digest its victory.
"Waves don't stop, they keep moving. They have now started in the reverse against BJP. Narendra Modi and BJP promised the moon to people of the country before polls and they are feeling cheated today as none of the promises were fulfilled," Congress leader Anand Sharma said while participating in a debate on "Has Modi wave waned?" at an 'Agenda AajTak' event.
Sharma also asked the government to hear out those who returned their awards over the issue of intolerance.
Attacking the government, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said its policies were not right and it has been proved by the results of Bihar Assembly election and Gujarat civic poll. She alleged that the government's priorities do not include the poor and the marginalised.
"If intolerance and majoritarianism is brought in, then how will India move forward. You are not an example of tolerance. Your Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance," she said.
Citing the example of a question on intolerance asked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a press conference in London, she said, "First time in decades the Prime Minister had to answer such a question at an international press conference."
Countering them, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad attacked the "so-called intellectuals" with Left leanings for tarnishing the country's image by raising the issue of intolerance.
"Tolerance is the very essence of India. It is part of our culture and values. This country belongs equally to Hindus, Muslims or Christians or any other religion. But suddenly so-called intellectuals are trying to tarnish India's image by talking of intolerance. What worries us is that they are unable to digest our victory and that is why they are giving us lessons on intolerance," he said.
He added that earlier it was all parties against the Congress, now all are against the BJP. "This is our victory," he said.
"There was a time all parties came together to fight Congress, now it's BJP. That is our victory," Prasad said, adding that if the opposition cannot digest BJP's victory, then that was their problem.
He said the Bihar defeat had nothing to do with any 'Modi wave'. "If someone says 'Modi wave' has weakened, that means there is a wave in the first place," he said.
Asked about the Congress's attack on the prime minister, Sharma said, "We respect the post of the prime minister, but we are opposed to the person occupying that post. We don't accept his ideology and have objections to it.
"As a person, we may not like him, but as prime minister, we accord due respect to him."
He said that BJP was having "misconceptions about its wave" as a reverse had started as seen in the Bihar polls.
Citing a recent survey, Sharma said that while Congress's position has improved, that of BJP remains the same.
"The government is doing spot running, like it is on a treadmill," he said, adding that if BJP's index is falling, it should not have misconceptions.
Talking about Congress, he said, "We are not weak, we are strong, our ideology is strong" and added that it is still a big party and is acceptable to many but "they (those in power) have arrogance."
CPI(M) leader Karat said, "You are getting a reply yourself as you got in Bihar and civic polls in rural Gujarat. The Modi wave is waning."
She added that the Left is in favour of India talking tough on terror with Pakistan and said it will support the government on any move for bringing the women's reservation Bill and for protecting farmers' interests.
"We said that we should talk with Pakistan, but they took opposite path and now they have taken a 180-degree turn," she said.
She further claimed that the finance minister had reduced by half the allocation for women in his budget and added that, fundamentally, there is no difference between Congress and BJP on economic policies.
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