Bharatiya Janata Party MPs were on Tuesday asked to avoid making provocative statements amid the debate in Parliament over the issue of intolerance where controversial comments by some party leaders, including ministers, have come in handy for the Opposition in its attack on the government.
In the first parliamentary party meeting during the winter session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told the members that provocative statements are being used by anti-BJP forces to deflect the attention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said members were also briefed about the recent elections, including one in Bihar where the BJP suffered a big defeat, and the need to work to spread the party ideology was stressed.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the meeting that the economic growth of 7.4 per cent in the last quarter was a positive sign for the country and will help the government take development to the poor.
“MPs were told to speak with understanding and decorum. There is a need to avoid controversy... At a time when the prime minister is pushing ahead with his development agenda, many people are unable to digest it and any misstep will allow anti-BJP forces to work it to their benefit. We should avoid making provocative statements,” Naqvi said, quoting Naidu.
He said the debate on the issue of intolerance was “unmasking” those who were misleading the country and added that the party MPs were told that communal riots were controlled under the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government and there was social harmony everywhere.
The “constructive discussion” between Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also flagged in the meeting. We have all hopes that developmental issues will be discussed and passed, Naqvi said, apparently referring to the GST bill.
Naqvi said the parliamentary party, which includes MPs of both the Houses, expressed happiness over BJP’s success in local elections in a number of states.
Asked about the Bihar results, he said the party had tried hard. “We respect the people’s mandate. But no mandate is final.”
Speaking on the briefing in the meeting over intolerance debate, he said sarcastically that those protesting over the issue include many “great intellectuals” who had issued an appeal to the people to vote against Modi during the Lok Sabha poll.
People rejected their appeal but they have not been able to get over it, he said.