New Delhi: Accusing the Narendra Modi Government of playing "vote bank politics" to garner Hindu votes under the "mask of pro-development", Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday claimed the ploy is to bring religion into politics.
Once a strong opponent of LK Advani, Aiyar also said he would have preferred to have the senior BJP leader as the Prime Minister, as "people worse than him" are in power.
The outspoken Aiyar said he was in the Speaker's Gallery in Parliament yesterday and saw that "so many non-religious people are sitting inside wearing religious clothes and the discussion is on them...Sadvis and sadhus are talking like this".
He was referring to Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's controversial remark and BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj's comments calling Nathuram Godse a patriot just like Mahatma Gandhi.
"Those who are trying to bring religion into politics also have to wear the mask of being pro-development," Aiyar said, adding, that the country has to watch-out for wolves in sheep's clothing".
Speaking at a TV news channel programme here, he said while vote bank politics has always been seen as an attempt to garner Muslim votes, the "fact" is that certain people want a vote bank of Hindus.
Just because you wear a religious garb does not mean you are spiritual. The distinction has to be acknowledged, he said.
He found an unlikely supporter in BJP leader Swami Chinmayananda, who said abuses should not have been used.
"Someone is talking about Godse, someone is saying...This is not as per the parliamentarian norms...If we cannot use proper words, then calling oneself religious leader is not right. Abuse cannot be a language of the religion or Parliament. Religion does not allow use of such languages".
However, he defended the Modi government saying it was for development and the dispensation is working in the interest of the entire country.