New Delhi: With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi continuing its Christian outreach in Kerala, CPM MLA and former state health minister K.K. Shailaja told ThePrint that she fears the move and called it a “dangerous thing”.

In an interview to ThePrint shortly before the 28 April launch of her debut book ‘My Life as a Comrade’, which chronicles Shailaja’s life and political journey so far, she said that even as the BJP is going ahead with its Christian outreach, the “Sangh Parivar is not showing tolerance” — referring to the BJP’s ideological parent the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

“Tolerance is a major thing in India. They (the Sangh Parivar) are deadly against the vichardhara (philosophy of tolerance). Intolerance has returned. Sangh Parivar organisations are openly saying that if Muslims and Christians adopt a ‘Hindu attitude’, they can stay here. It is a dangerous thing,” Shailaja pointed out.

An MLA from Mattannur in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government of Kerala, Shailaja asserted that the state government does not have any enmity towards PM Modi.

“But it is the difference between policies. From the Sangh Parivar to our Prime Minister, everyone is propagating that India is a Hindu nation. We don’t believe that India can become a single-religion country, a Hindu Rashtra. We cannot agree with that. In our Constitution, it is written that our country is secular,” she told ThePrint, adding that “secularism is our main religion”.

Shailaja pointed out there are “more than six religions in our country”. “People in different parts of India have different eating habits, different religious events, everything is different but we joined together after 1947 (independence from British rule) to form a country that is India and the string which joins us together is secularism,” she explained.

‘Government is privatising everything’

Talking about the BJP-led central government’s policies, Shailaja highlighted the problem of unemployment in the context of “the PM coming to Kerala and asking the youth ‘what is your problem’”.

“The problem of the youth is unemployment. It (joblessness rate) is more than 8 per cent in India and they (the Centre) should have a policy to get rid of this problem throughout India, instead of asking questions to the youth in Kerala. He (the PM) can come and ask questions, but he should change the policy,” she said, alleging that “the government is privatising everything, (even) the Life Insurance Corporation of India”.

Commenting on the government-versus-Governor debate in the light of Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s frequent run-ins with the Vijayan government, the former Kerala health minister said: “It’s not only Kerala; in Tamil Nadu too you can hear the same issue, and in some other states as well.”

“The relationship between the Governor and the government should be democratic… we are not against Arif Mohammed Khan ji, or anyone. We cooperate with any higher authorities, if it is the right thing. If it is against the people, we will protest. That is going on, nothing else,” she said.

According to Shailaja, the central government should decide how far a Governor can go (to fulfil constitutional duties).

Referring to the makers of the Constitution, she said: “Someone had asked if this position (of Governor) would hinder the free activity of an elected government. At that time, (Bhim Rao) Ambedkar and the others had said ‘no, the Governor should behave properly because they are from a democratic country and they will uphold the principles of democracy’. But, nowadays, it is not so.”

Shailaja alleged that “every Bill the (state) assembly was passing was going to the Governor and he was sitting on it”.

“This despite the Kerala High Court also saying that the Governor cannot sit on Bills. The central government should decide how far the governor can go,” she reiterated…

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