“We must oppose terrorism, no doubt, but the Muslim community is an integral part of India’s nationality,” said the former Kerala BJP chief

Padmanabhan, commonly referred to as “CKP” by party workers, is no stranger to controversies. | File photo: Facebook/CK Padmanabhan

By Rajeev Ramachandran

In a major embarrassment to the BJP leadership, their national council member and former Kerala BJP unit president CK Padmanabhan has expressed grave concerns over the party’s anti-Muslim stance and interpretation of Hindutva.

In an interview to Media One TV, he said the BJP’s anti-Muslim rhetoric will only foster divisiveness and will not benefit the people of the country. On the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), he emphasised that no community should be excluded from consideration for citizenship.

Flays anti-Muslim sentiment

“No community should be excluded while granting citizenship. It is unfortunate that an air of anti-Muslim sentiment has been on the rise in the country lately. That won’t benefit our nation. While it may provide some fulfilment to the ‘perversion of a few emotionally-driven individuals’, it wouldn’t strengthen our social fabric or national harmony,” he warned.

“We must oppose terrorism, no doubt, but the Muslim community is an integral part of India’s nationality. That’s what I have understood. My Hindutva is in line with Swami Vivekananda’s and Sree Narayana Guru’s Hindutva.”

Indian constitution

“As an individual, I have observed and studied this. Pluralism is the beauty of our country, and our strength lies in our unity. Both must coexist. We should embrace this pluralism and unity together.”

He went on: “Modi has explicitly stated that our Bhagavad Gita is our constitution. I interpret this as referring to the existing constitution, not one that some believe may be introduced in the future,” said Padmanabhan, in response to a question about fears of a total overhaul of the constitution if the BJP is voted back to power in the Lok Sabha elections.

Padmaja Venugopal

The interview comes shortly after a controversy stirred by Padmanabhan expressing his discontent over the attention given to former Congress leader Padmaja Venugopal, who recently joined the BJP.

This story was originally published in thefederal.com. Read the full story here.