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|January 5, 1998||
BJP will not deviate from secularism 'come what may'
The Bharatiya Janata Party has appealed to Muslims not to view it through the "coloured glass" of its adversaries and pledged not to deviate from the path of secularism "come what may".
Addressing the silver jubilee conference of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tirunelveli at the weekend, BJP president Lal Kishinchand Advani assured Muslims that his party is committed to secularism in the true sense as enshrined in the Constitution.
He asked the community to go by the BJP governments's track record in the states. Quoting Muslim leader Dr Rafiq Zakaria, Advani said Muslims in Maharashtra, where the BJP-Shiv Sena combine is in power, had no problems in the last two-and-a-half years and felt quite secure in the state.
Launching a scathing attack on the Congress and the United Front, Advani said both parties were engaged in the politics of manipulation as opposed to the politics of mass mobilisation practised by his party and his new ally, the AIADMK.
He held the Congress responsible for the growth of regional parties as it had failed to fulfill the aspirations of the people of different regions during its long rule.
There was no conflict between regional pride and national pride. In fact, they complemented each other, he said, but cautioned that regional aspirations should not, however, lead to bigotry, chauvinism, narrow-mindedness and separatism.
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