Opposition demands PM's statement on conversion row

Opposition demands PM's statement on conversion row

The opposition today made a vociferous demand for a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the conversion row and a controversial statement made by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath on the Ayodhya issue.

CPI-M leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury said despite the Prime Minister's disapproval of Union Minister Niranjan Jyoti's controversial comment at a public rally, the BJP MPs were in the "race to wreak havoc" on the secular character of the Constitution.

"There should be a debate on this issue in the presence of the Prime Minister. After Union Minister's controversial statement, he came and gave an assurance to the House (Rajya Sabha), but despite this BJP MPs continue to give statements that vitiate the atmosphere.

"The discussions should also follow action and he should assure that such things do not happen in future," Yechury told reporters outside Parliament.

Reports state that at a religious conclave in Vaishali in Bihar, Adityanath said that demolition of Babri Masjid was a show of "Hindu unity" and the "ghar wapsi" (reconversion) ceremony should not be stopped.

Yechury said that the opposition members today met Rajya Sabha Chairman (Hamid Ansari) and put forth their demand for a discussion and debate over the issue in the presence of the Prime Minister.

"The Prime Minister should listen and assure the House. All these outfits- the RSS, Bajrang Dal- are their off shoots," CPI MP D Raja said.

Maintaining that Rajya Sabha should not be a mere "talking shop", Yechury said, "The Prime Minister should be responsible for this. After Union Minister Niranjan Jyoti's statement, the Prime Minister issued a statement that such things would not happen, but that's not showing any effect.

"He is also answerable for the conduct of their MPs, who are in the race to wreak havoc to the basic structure of the Constitution."

RPI chief Ramdas Athawale, whose party is an ally in the NDA, said the BJP came to power on development issues and should not stray away from its goal.

"The BJP has won due to the broad and progressive image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wilful conversion to any religion is a matter of personal faith, but if these issues are tarnishing the image of the government then it should be stopped," Athawale said.

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