Defeat communal forces in elections, says PM

ManmohanSoniaPrime Minister Manmohan Singh

Cautioning against any laxity in the fight against communalism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said "communal forces" should be opposed in "elections" as also in day-to-day life. His remarks stretching the fight against communal forces to elections had clear political overtones and seemed to be aimed at the BJP.

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Referring to the recent incidents of communal violence, the Prime Minister said lessons should be learnt from such incidents. "There should be no slackness in efforts to stop communal forces. We should oppose such forces at all levels and all the time be it day-to-day life or in elections," he said at a function to present the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award to eminent musician Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.

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Singh's remarks come at a time when the Sangh Parivar is trying to rekindle the Ayodhya issue and the BJP is accused of stoking communal tension in non-BJP ruled states.

In fact, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had last week informed the Union Cabinet about intelligence inputs that the Bajrang Dal, a constituent of the Sangh Parivar, was involved in stoking communal violence in Kishtwar in J&K. Singh said attempts were always made to exploit the diversity of India to create a divide among the people.

The Prime Minister underscored that "it is the responsibility of all political parties, all sections of society and duty of all of us to ensure that such efforts are defeated." He called for continued efforts to promote communal harmony so that "there is never mistrust for each other and nobody is able to create divide among us".

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has been given the award for his outstanding contribution in promotion of communal harmony, peace and goodwill. Both the Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi lauded Khan's efforts in spreading the message of secularism. Sonia said a society which is divided and in which discrimination exists cannot make stellar progress. Rahul Gandhi was also present on the occasion.

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