Underlining that tolerance is the “core of India”, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Wednesday said political expediency and some people “speaking out of turn” have created a narrative of intolerance and the “party must disown such people.”
Interacting with students and faculty from Harvard, Stanford and MIT at his residence, Naidu, without taking names, said: “Some fellows speak something out of turn, the party must disown such people and the law must take its own course. The core of India is tolerance. But people opposed to this government and to Prime Minister Modi create this impression (of intolerance).”
In Rajya Sabha, the House which has Naidu as its chairman, witnessed stormy scenes Wednesday with the Opposition seeking the resignation of Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Anantkumar Hegde for his remarks that “people who call themselves secularists… are like people without parentage or who don’t know their bloodline” and that the BJP has come to power to “change the Constitution.”
In his interaction with the students, Naidu spoke on India’s history and political system and also mentioned how hurt the country was that the wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death in Pakistan on alleged espionage charges, had been made to remove her mangalsutra and bindi when she was there to meet him.
“You can change your friends but not your neighbours. It is a famous line of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Our Prime Minister dropped in at a family function of the Pakistani Prime Minister. Yet see what they did to Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family. They had to meet across a glass… when I was released from jail during Emergency, my wife came and hugged me. That is not done in public but she was just happy. They did not even allow that and they asked her to remove her mangalsutra and bindi. In Indian culture, doing that means the husband is dead… we are engaging Pakistan only because we want peace,” he said.
On 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament, Naidu said: “Now there is a talk about reservation for women in Parliament. The matter is under consideration but it is never easy to vacate your seat and give it to a woman. The government says it is committed to women’s reservation.”
He underlined the importance of government and the Opposition working together: “Opposition should have its say, and the government should have its way.”