Several Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leaders slammed Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday for accusing the saffron party of "manufacturing the word Love Jihad to divide the nation & disturb communal harmony".
Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia released a video statement terming Gehlot's statement shameful and accusing him of "stooping low for vote bank politics". He tweeted, "This statement is shameful, India is the oldest eternal country in the world where marriage is a natural rite, love jihad is the declared agenda of Islamic terrorism, I do not believe you will fall so much for vote bank politics, distracted by the plight of Congress and mental balance. It is only natural to be confused".
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Member Parliament from Jodhpur and Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat also launched a scathing attack on Gehlot and called his tweet a display of communal agenda. Shekhawat tweeted, "Ashokji, manufacturing terms, riots, and hatred is a Congress prerogative. The BJP has believed in Sabka Vikas hence will ensure our womenfolk are not subject to injustice of any kind".
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In a series of tweets, Ashok Gehlot on Friday had said, "Love Jihad is a word manufactured by BJP to divide the Nation & disturb communal harmony. Marriage is a matter of personal liberty, bringing a law to curb it is completely unconstitutional & it will not stand in any court of law. Jihad has no place in Love. They are creating an environment in the nation where consenting adults would be at the mercy of state power. Marriage is a personal decision & they are putting curbs on it, which is like snatching away personal liberty. It seems a ploy to disrupt communal harmony, fuel social conflict & disregard constitutional provisions like the state not discriminating against citizens on any ground."
Love Jihad is a word manufactured by BJP to divide the Nation & disturb communal harmony. Marriage is a matter of personal liberty, bringing a law to curb it is completely unconstitutional & it will not stand in any court of law. Jihad has no place in Love.— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) November 20, 2020
They are creating an environment in the nation where consenting adults would be at the mercy of state power. Marriage is a personal decision & they are putting curbs on it, which is like snatching away personal liberty.— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) November 20, 2020
It seems a ploy to disrupt communal harmony, fuel social conflict & disregard constitutional provisions like the state not discriminating against citizens on any ground.— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) November 20, 2020
Gehlot's tweets on Love Jihad came amid a growing clamour in BJP-ruled states in favour of bills to prevent cases of “forcing marriage by religious conversion after luring a person”. Madhya Pradesh has already announced to introduce a bill in the next assembly session to be called Dharma Swatantrya (Freedom of Religion) Bill, 2020, which proposes five years of imprisonment for forcing marriage by religious conversion. The bill also received support from BJP-ruled states such as Karnataka, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier on Thursday former education minister of Rajasthan and BJP MLA Vasudev Devnani had demanded the introduction of a similar law in Rajasthan and had cited a rise in “Love Jihad” cases in the state.