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Being “BJP Lite” Will End Up Making “Congress Zero”: Shashi Tharoor

Secularism as principle and practice in India is in “danger” and the ruling dispensation may even try to remove the word from the Constitution, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said, but asserted that “forces of hatred” cannot alter the country’s secular character.

Secularism is only a word and even if the government takes it out of the Constitution, it would still be a secular Constitution because of its basic structure, Mr Tharoor told PTI in an interview on his new book ”The Battle of Belonging”.

He also asserted that the Congress party cannot risk trying to become ”BJP Lite” as it may end up making it ”Congress Zero” and said his party was not offering a watered-down version of the BJP’s political messaging and the spirit of Indian secularism was very much “alive and well” in the grand old party.

Asked about his party being accused of peddling in soft Hindutva, Mr Tharoor said he does recognise that there’s a very real and tangible concern for some liberal Indians over the issue, but asserted that “we in the Congress party are very clear that we cannot allow ourselves to become a BJP-lite”.

“I have long argued that any attempt to emulate ”Pepsi Lite” by ”BJP Lite” will end up with us becoming like ”Coke Zero” — that is, ”Congress Zero”,” the former Union minister said.

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