Rajagopal says religious leaders have every right to tell the faithful how to react to issues.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national executive committee member O. Rajagopal has said that intervention of religious people in political affairs cannot be treated as wrong.

Speaking at a meet-the-press programme at the Press Club here on Monday, Mr. Rajagopal said the argument disfavouring the intervention of religious leaders in politics could not be acceptable.

Stating that the concept of the Church-State split had its origin in the ancient Rome, he said the issue being discussed here as to whether religion should intervene in politics should be seen from a different perspective. Observing that religion was not something that had to be kept away from politics, he said the religious leaders had every right to tell the faithful how to react to issues. It was a different matter if the faithful would pay heed to the religious leaders or not, he added.

The intervention of religion in political affairs would depend on the attitude of the State to religion, he said adding that the State should show no discrimination against religions. The issue being raised here involved the question whether the State was treating all religions equally, he pointed out. The Congress was known for its religious appeasement and Communists in the country also had a legacy of having allied with religious groups.

Cooperation

Stating categorically that the BJP had no discreet understanding with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF), the BJP leader said the party was also not showing any political untouchability to any other party or parties. Wherever the BJP had not fielded its candidates, the party would cooperate with anyone who shared the party's development agenda. To a question, Mr. Rajagopal said the party would even cooperate with groups such as the Jamat-e-Islami and the Social Democratic Party of India on the basis of this.

He accused both the LDF and the UDF of allowing extremist forces to grow in the State. He also added that the BJP would perform better in the local body elections.

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