By Brij Khandelwal, Aligarh, April 14 IANS | 8 months ago

Noted film-maker Mahesh Bhatt Monday batted for the Congress saying it alone could ensure unity of the country and protect values of secularism.

In a telephonic interview to IANS, he stressed on secularism as a key ingredient to keep the country united and strong. "Only the Congress can ensure unity of the country and protect values of secularism...."

When asked why it was necessary for a film-maker like him to join politics, he said: "We live in a democracy and should participate in it. Gone are the days when artistes could afford to be fence-sitters. Time for taking a stand has come ... You cannot be apolitical now."

"My father was a Congressman from Porbandar. During the Quit India movement, he faced lathis and got hurt. My mother, a Muslim, was a staunch supporter of (Mahatma) Gandhi. I am, therefore, predisposed towards secularism and Gandhism."

He was leading the "Karwan-e-Bedari" of the Millat Bedari Muhim Committee, an intellectual and social body of teachers and intellectuals of the Aligarh Muslim University, to mobilise support for the Congress.

"Even today, the Congress realises a new generation of Muslims are eager to join the national mainstream. Development of infrastructure, education, employment, sanitation and gender sensitisation are important issues for Muslims, which the Congress-led UPA tried doing."

Bhatt, who won accolades for directing "Arth", "Saaransh", "Janam" and "Aashiqui", among others, said the Congress did not keep some promises which antagonised a section of Muslims but if one looks at a larger picture one finds that there was an honest attempt to implement the Sachar committee report.

He said the BJP released its manifesto that includes all the controversial issues like Ram Temple, Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code. "In fact, the core ideology of Sangh Parivar and BJP - Hindutva - was beautifully enveloped in development and that has been exposed now. This Hindutva will be implemented if BJP comes to power," he added.

(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at brij.k@ians.in)

(Posted on 14-04-2014)

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