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Stop making provocative statements, don't derail Modi's development agenda, BJP's message to leaders

Somi Das | Updated on: 1 December 2015, 12:29 IST

There is broad consensus within the BJP that party leaders must stop making provocative statements, and refrain from derailing the Prime Minister's development agenda. Senior party leaders reiterated this stand on Tuesday at the BJP's Parliamentary Party meet.

One of the major proponents of this line of thought was Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu. He told party leaders to refrain from making provocative statements in the meeting. Vekaiah had on Monday admitted that there is "some intolerance" in local pockets that needed to be dealt with strongly.

The party has been criticised for controversial statements made by its leaders like Kailash Vijayvargiya, Yogi Adityanath and culture Minister Mahesh Sharma. BJP leader Sangeet Som's provocative statements right after the Dadri beef lynching incident also earned the party many brickbats.

The main grouse of the Opposition as well as critics of the BJP has been that the Prime Minister has not made any statement or taken any action to reign in the party members who have made irresponsible comments.

The meeting comes a day after the Parliament debated on the intolerance issue with an united Opposition - led by CPI's Mohammad Salim and Congress' KC Venugopal - insisting that the country witnessed some horrific incidents of intolerance in the last 15 months.

During the debate, the BJP rebutted all allegations of increasing intolerance in the country under the Modi government.

BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi accused those returning awards of being "intellectual mercenaries". She said: "I would like to assure them that India is not becoming intolerant and there is absolutely no data to support this fact. In fact, this atmosphere is sought to be created to malign the image of a democratic elected government and that is why I call them intellectual mercenaries, because they don't bother about tarnishing the image of a democratic government."

She also praised the Modi government for bringing down incidents of communal violence since coming to power.

The debate on rising intolerance in the country will continue in Lok Sabha today.

First published: 1 December 2015, 12:29 IST
Somi Das @Somi_Das

Somi brings with her the diverse experience of working in a hard news environment with ample exposure to long-form journalism to Catch. She has worked with Yahoo! News, India Legal and Newslaundry. As the Assistant Editor of Catch Live, she intends to bring quality, speed and accuracy to the table. She has a PGD in Print and TV journalism from YMCA, New Delhi, and is a lifelong student of Political Science.