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BJP to make ‘major assault’ on Constitution if it controls Parliament says Shashi Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday said if the BJP government received two-thirds majority in both the Houses of the Parliament, it would look to make a “major assault” on the constitution with an aim to create a “Hindu Rashtra”.

Tharoor, a second-time Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, also said that the Congress and like-minded secular parties should come together on a common platform to halt the Hindutva onslaught in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections

In an interview with IANS, Tharoor said if the BJP controlled both the Houses, constitutional provisions like Article 370 on Kashmir and secularism would be under threat.

“Once they get two-thirds in both Houses, I do believe the Constitution, including Article 370 on Kashmir… on the Hindu rashtra concept, on use of words socialism, secularism, all of these would be up for grabs. There is little doubt about it,” the Congress leader said.

Tharoor also hinted that a committee under KN Govindacharya, an ideologue of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is working for the present dispensation, on the idea of a Hindu rashtra.

“I think a lot of their real agenda is waiting for the time when they have both Houses under their control. And once they do, you can certainly look to a major assault on the Constitution. Then the question is, will the Supreme Court stand by the basic structure doctrine and interpret it to include these principles of equality, freedom of religion, freedom of worship, non-discrimination, etc., which would make it impossible to reduce the Constitution to the document of a religiously-derived majoritarianism,” Tharoor said.

The Congress leader said the key political arguments before next year’s general elections would be if the BJP had fulfilled all sorts of promises it made five years ago.

“Are you better off than you were four years ago or five years ago? You think about the price of your gas cylinder. You think about whether you’ve got a job. You think about whether you’ve been able to afford to pay for petrol or diesel at the pump even though world prices dropped for four years,” Kerala MP said.

When asked who all should be the Congress’ allies in the 2019 general elections, Tharoor said it was too early.

“There would be states where there would be straight fight between us and the BJP, and alliances would be of less consequence. But we may still have an alliance for the sake of opposition unity. But there would be other states where regional parties would be more powerful electorally than we are, and where we may have to reconcile ourselves either by allying with them or, if necessary, tying up a post-elections alliance,” he said.

Asked if the Congress would ally with the Left post-elections, he said: “They will, certainly. As far as the CPI-M is concerned, they have already announced they will not ally with the Congress and now we have the final decision to be made by their Congress. If that is confirmed by the party congress, then we will only see post-election (alliance).”


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