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No need to change Preamble: Shah

BJP respects present Constitution, row over missing words ‘meaningless’

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) respects the Constitution as it stands today, with the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ in its Preamble, party president Amit Shah has said.

Terming the recent controversy over government advertisements showing the original version of the Constitution, that did not have these words, as “meaningless”, Mr. Shah said: “the BJP believes that the Preamble, as it stands today, should remain. There is no need to change it.” He added that the government advertisements were in the specific context of the Republic Day. Some party leaders had proposed a debate on the issue.

In an exclusive interview on Sunday to The Hindu , on the BJP and its policies, Mr Shah said people who were opposing the “ ghar vapsi ” or re-conversion campaign by organisations affiliated to the Sangh Parivar, were twisting the debate. “We are saying that let there be law against forced conversions. Not a single so-called secular party has come forward on this. We do not want debate on this. We want support. There have been enough debates since 1950. We want a law.”

Responding to a question on whether the BJP government has deviated from its proclaimed development agenda by focussing on a divisive social agenda, Mr. Shah said these were unrelated issues. “If somebody does ghar vapsi and someone does conversion, will this have a bearing on reaching water and power to every home? Will industry stop functioning,” he asked.

The BJP president did not think that U.S. President Barack Obama’s farewell speech in Delhi, where he quoted Article 25 of the Constitution guaranteeing religious freedom to all citizens, was a reference to any incident in India and added that the party was in complete agreement with the idea. “Everybody says that. Even we say it. Our Constitution says so. He did not say such things were happening in our country,” Mr. Shah said.

When reminded that the several people associated with the BJP had made communally provocative statements, Mr. Shah said they had been censured.

( Full text of interview at )

Obama speech

on religious

freedom not a reference to India

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