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Eminent personalities call for 'secular' government at Centre
Thursday May 15, 2014 7:52 PM, IANS

Around 900 eminent personalities from different walks of life Thursday called upon all secular parties to "ensure formation of a secular government" at the Centre after the Lok Sabha election results are announced Friday.

"We are alarmed by the divisive, abusive and violent Lok Sabha election campaign that has just been concluded. The BJP under Narendra Modi's leadership has been especially virulent in ridiculing and insulting religious and sexual minorities, Dalits and people with disabilities through its campaign," they said in a signed statement released here.

Some of the prominent signatories are: Kathak danseuse Aditi Mangaldas; documentary film-maker Anand Patwardhan; tabla maestro Aneesh Pradhan; writer and director Anusha Rizvi; Hansal Mehta, writer and director; activist Javed Anand; Zoya Hasan, professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University; and singer-musician Shubha Mudgal, among others.

They said the "communal forces represented and endorsed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Modi" also work against the interests and rights of cultural and linguistic minorities, tribals and women across communities.

"The BJP, under Modi, has also threatened constitutional bodies like the Election Commission. Dissenting voices have been intimidated and asked to leave the country," they said.

The eminent personalities expressed apprehension about the collusion of big corporate houses with communal and authoritarian ideas, visible starkly in the election campaign, seeping into the structures of governance "if a Modi-led" NDA government is formed and warned that all opponents of this brand of politics will be hounded and hunted, as they indeed have been in Gujarat.

"It is only reasonable to anticipate that the policies of discrimination and ghettoisation practised by Modi's government in Gujarat will become the national norm. Even more disturbingly, much of the mainstream media today is not only acting pliant, they are carrying a barrage of misleading facts to promote Modi, leading to legitimate fears that they may further abandon their watchdog role," they said.

Under such "alarming scenario", they directly called upon the secular elected members to ensure that the Constitution, its values and the future of this nation are protected.

"There is nothing inevitable about the rise of Modi to prime ministership. The keys to forming government in Delhi are held by all of you. We now remind some of you of the promises you have made during this election campaign... We along with millions of citizens voted for you because of these promises. After all, secularism is not just a catchword in election manifestos. It is the backbone of our democracy," they said.

"We appeal to you and all other secular parties to come together to ensure the formation of a secular government, and prevent the formation of a Narendra Modi-led BJP/NDA central government. We gave you our votes. We hope you will honour our trust," they urged.

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