Kushwaha reaches out to writers, asks them to ignore fringe groups

Union Minister says political parties should not be monitoring eating habits.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:33 pm IST

Published - October 22, 2015 03:02 am IST - NEW DELHI

With more litterateurs returning their Sahitya Akademi and Padma awards in protest against the increasing intolerance in the country, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Upendra Kushwaha on Wednesday appealed to intellectuals to ignore fringe elements who wanted to “create chaos”.

Mr. Kushwaha sought to reach out to writers at a time when top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and Union Ministers had called their protest “manufactured” and accused them of ideological bias.

“I appeal to the intellectual community not to be bogged down by such elements who want to create chaos,” Mr. Kushwaha told The Hindu in a written statement. “Such people are very few in number and I hope that such fringe elements will themselves be sidelined if we don’t pay attention to them.”

Mr. Kushwaha is the leader of the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, which attracts a section of Other Backward Classes votes for the BJP in Bihar.

Predicting a landslide victory for the National Democratic Alliance in the Bihar elections on the plank of “development”, Mr. Kushwaha said political parties should avoid dictating people’s food choices or making statements hurting popular sentiments.

“Eating and dressing should not be monitored by political parties or government, but at the same time, political leaders should not hurt the sentiments of any community by saying something which goes against the popular belief,” he said in reply to a query on the controversies over beef.

Mr. Kushwaha sought to cap the controversy over the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s reported statement that “reservations be reassessed to find out who has benefited how much from it”.

“The RSS has clearly said that it did not want any review of the reservation policy, which was envisaged in the Constitution by B.R. Ambedkar. The honourable Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] has said clearly that there can be no change in the reservation policy,” he said. “I also want to make it clear that our party won’t allow any change in the reservation policy. Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar are trying to spread canards about it without any basis.”

Regarding recent incidents involving the Shiv Sena in Mumbai, Mr. Kushwaha said: “We are of the view that such incidents don’t serve the interest of the nation.”

The Shiv Sena had recently courted controversy when its workers blackened Sudheendra Kulkarni’s face, derailed plans for Ghulam Ali concerts in Mumbai and Pune and forcibly entered the BCCI office in Mumbai.

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