Nitin Gadkari says it is unfair to link cow vigilante groups to BJP

New Delhi: In an interview to PTI, the former Bharatiya Janata Party president said the government was focused on 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' (Together with all, Development for all) and its policies have not discriminated against religious minorities.

"Any saffron clad person on television is immediately related to us (BJP) whereas the fact is that we don't have any relation with that person," he said. He said that they did not support such people.

File image of Nitin Gadkari. PTI

File image of Nitin Gadkari. PTI

Gadkari said violence in the name of protecting cows should not have happened.

"This is not our agenda. Those who are doing this are not our people. Those who did it are wrong. We are not with them. Prime Minister had condemned (them).We all have condemned (such violence). Why are they being hoisted as our name?," he said.

He also alleged that the move was part of a  campaign to malign the party and project it as anti-minority and anti-Dalit.

Certain sections of 'Gau rakshaks' (cow protectors) have reportedly stopped vehicles, beaten people, extorted money and in some cases stolen animals— all in the name of protecting cows. This has inflamed tensions, risking undermining Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to focus on economic advancement.

Some foreign commentators have linked the rise in cow-related violence, alcohol bans and 'anti-Romeo' police squads supposedly aimed at protecting a woman's honour as signs of rising political risk in Asia's third-largest economy.

"BJP, VHP, Sangh (parivar) and our government do not support such elements," Gadkari said, adding that the party was, however, against cow slaughter.

It a matter of belief, he said, adding that he himself uses 'gomutra ark' or cow urine for therapeutic purposes.

He said such incidents of violence had happened in the past as well during Samajwadi Party and Congress rules.

"Our government has not discriminated against any caste, creed or religion in the last three years," he said.

Gadkari further said that free LPG connections under the Ujjwala Yojana were not just given to Hindus but also to Muslims and so were the zero balance bank accounts under Jan Dhan yojana.

"Our fight is against poverty, hunger and disease. Poor is poor and cannot be discriminated against on caste, creed, religion and language.We have not lent our shoulders to anyone for use against
minorities," he said.

Indians, he said, are genetically tolerant as was reflected in 4,000 year history when not a single mosque was demolished and added that no discrimination was done.

Published Date: May 25, 2017 16:25 PM | Updated Date: May 25, 2017 18:11 PM

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