New Delhi: BJP President J.P. Nadda has told foreign envoys that the Modi government is committed to India’s development and not discriminatory politics — seeking to reassure them in the face of questions about the ruling party’s priorities amid communal tensions in the country.
The reassurance was in response to the questions posed by some of the European envoys as well as others, where they pointedly asked Nadda about the state of minorities, particularly Muslims, in the country and the “relationship” between the BJP and its ideological fountainhead, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The envoys, who had been invited by Nadda for the second edition of the ‘Know BJP’ programme Monday, asked questions on “communal tensions” as well as the government’s agenda going forward, as it gears up for the 2024 general elections, diplomatic sources told ThePrint.
Envoys of Australia, Canada, US, Israel, Denmark, Bhutan, Fiji, Indonesia, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Suriname and the Dominican Republic, had been invited for the programme this time.
“The envoys clearly had a lot of questions to ask and it’s good that the opportunity was given because we would have to also report back to our headquarters,” said a diplomat, adding that it was important for them to understand the BJP’s relationship with the RSS and how that has a larger implication on the way the party operates.
According to another diplomat, who refused to be identified, the BJP has said that their focus remains economic development and other issues concerning the minorities pertain to domestic politics.
“Some of the envoys wanted to know about UCC and Nadda ji explained to them that while some states have expressed a desire to implement UCC, as far the the BJP is concerned their focus during elections would be development and Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and the welfare measures that have been taken by the Modi government,” said Vijay Chauthaiwale, In-Charge of BJP’s Foreign Affairs Department.
‘No discrimination on development schemes’
According to Chauthaiwale, the purpose of the interaction was to get to know the BJP and on questions related to the minorities, party president Nadda had made it quite clear to the foreign diplomats that the BJP’s agenda was ‘Sabka Saath’ and ‘Sabka Vikas’.
“Nadda ji explained that there is no discrimination at all in our development schemes. All our welfare policies are for everyone and are not implemented based on religion,” he said, adding, Nadda apprised the gathering about the party’s ideology, structure, functioning and the welfare works that it has been carrying out.
The BJP leader further said that envoys wanted more such interactions and party-to-party contacts in future which would help them understand the BJP.
According to a party leader, the envoys were also shown a short film on the inception of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (from which the BJP originated) and the BJP, documenting the party’s journey from two to 303 MPs in Lok Sabha.
BJP had launched the ‘Know BJP’ initiative on the party’s foundation day on 6 April to address the overseas audience and to engage with them.
The party had done a similar exercise, with foreign envoys, last month when it invited the diplomats of France, the European Union, Portugal, Switzerland and Poland, among others.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)