Modi tells party MPs to observe restraint

Cornered by the Opposition in Parliament on issues like conversion, an agitated Prime Minister Narendra Modi again asked all BJP parliamentarians not to cross “Laxman Rekha” while airing their views and instead focus on development.

Modi’s tough talk, his third since coming to power in May, during a parliamentary party meeting came against the backdrop of repeated opposition-led disruptions in Parliament, especially in Rajya Sabha that has remained paralysed for the last two days protesting Sangh Parivar’s reported conversion drive in Agra and similar attempts planned elsewhere. It is hurting the smooth sailing of government’s legislative agenda.

With Gorakhpur BJP MP Mahant Adityanath remaining adamant on “ghar vapsi (home coming)” of Muslims and Christians as he claimed they were essentially Hindus, Modi is believed to have told the lawmakers that remarks on conversions and other issues are hurting the image of the government and the party.

The public discourse that the NDA government would want to be focused around development is now filled with controversial statements and other religious acts that continue to defy Modi’s appeal to observe restraint.  Last week, saffron-clad MP Sakshi Maharaj had described Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a “patriot” which led to an uproar in parliament. Though reluctant, he was forced by the party to tender apology before the Lok Sabha to sooth opposition leaders.

 Prior to him, Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti’s hate speech at a Delhi Assembly poll rally early this month had drawn the ire of the prime minister. Modi then too had cautioned MPs to drop the habit of talking out of turn which colloquially he referred as “address to the nation”. Modi also again issued a stern warning to MPs who have been coming late to Parliament or party meetings which some of them continue to do despite getting flak. About 26 of them reached the parliamentary party meeting venue after the prime minister, who is always before time.

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