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Pashupatinath vs Eid: Oppn criticises Modi for his unsecular 'differentiation'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism from the opposition for not greeting Muslims on Eid even as pictures of the PM offering prayers at Nepal's famous Pashupatinath Temple were splashed all over the TV screen and newspaper headlines.

According to a Times of India report TMC leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay said that while he appreciated the PM's actions at Pashupatinath Temple, it was expected that the PM would wish Muslims on Eid too, and "wanted to know the reason for this 'differentiation'".

Bandhopadhyay said that India believes in secularism, but that "some evil forces are trying to create communal tension." The TOI report says that "NCP leader Tariq Anwar, Bhagwant Mann (AAP) and K Kavitha (TRS) as also Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury joined the TMC leader in criticising the prime minister."

 Pashupatinath vs Eid: Oppn criticises Modi for his unsecular differentiation

PM Modi at the Pashupatinath temple. PTI

Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury pointed out that since Independence India's prime ministers have been hosting iftars but none was held under the PM Modi. He added, "Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee continued with this tradition, but what has happened now?"

Meanwhile parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu disagreed with the criticism saying that the PM had greeted Muslims on Eid. It should be noted that while Narendra Modi had tweeted out Eid greetings from his personal account, the official PMO India account didn't carry the same tweet. Check out Modi's tweet.

As far as iftar parties are concerned, under PM Modi the number of such parties stood at a grand total of zero. As we had noted in this previous report Modi sarkar did not show any interest in jumping on the iftar party bandwagon. BJP's Muslim faces Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi didn't host any iftaar party, while ex-BJP MP Shahnawaz Hussain held one almost towards the end of the Ramazan season.

The decline in iftaar was a loss of the BJP in the eyes of sociologist Shiv Vishwanathan who told ET, that such parties need to be seen as "an act of reaching out to the second largest community in India."

However as we had noted earlier, the decline of the iftar parties in the Modi era is hardly surprising. Given that Modi had famously refused a skull cap during his Sadbhavna mission, an iftar party would have been quite a departure for the current government. But Modi's real problem is his enthusiasm for Hindu rituals as PR events -- be it the Ganga aarti or his visit to Pashupathinath -- which then offers a stark contrast to his muted acknowledgement of other religious celebrations. If he toned down, Modi may not have as much trouble with the other.

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Updated Date: Aug 06, 2014 08:50:06 IST