Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday made a veiled attack on the BJP, accusing it of practising "competitive communalism" in the name of Hindutva and claimed his party chooses the politics of performance over the ongoing politics of identity to govern the country.
"The issues that touch your wallet, your daily life need to be focused on. Competitive communalism is the agenda only of one party, the party of Hindutva. Our agenda is truly to challenge the government on performance.
"In the battle between politics of identity and politics of performance, we hope we will be prevail with the Indian voters who would want to see their politicians performing for them," Tharoor said at a session on his latest book "Why I am a Hindu" at the Kolkata Literary Festival here.
He said it is important to make people aware of the nuances of Hinduism as opposed to the hardliner Hindutva ideology practised by some sections of Indian society to put aside the arguments on religion and focus on more pertinent issues like price rise and lack of development under the present regime.
"If we can do that then we can put aside the Hindutva issue, the polarisation argument and talk about development. Then we can talk about the young people who were promised jobs four years ago and still have not got it or the housewives who were paying Rs 390 for a gas cylinder during the UPA, are now paying Rs 790 because the government has removed all the subsidies.
"For a government, the responsibility is if anybody breaks the law, whether they do it in the name of religion or something else, they should not worry about the religion part and focus on their actions to punish them," he pointed out.
About the acceptance and diverse nature of Hinduism, Tharoor said the argument on religion should not be between the believers and the secular.
"The argument on Hinduism should be within the faith. It cannot be between the Hindu and secular. If you make it that way, then those who practise Hindutva would say vote for us because we are Hindus and they are not. But within the belief we can say to the Hindus, that their teaching of Hindutva is wrong..." he said.
Tharoor said true Hinduism teaches acceptance which is more important than tolerance because while the idea of tolerance is somewhat patronising, acceptance teaches to be respectful of others' beliefs.
He also said, more than the faith, it is often the "faithful" who creates more problems in the society by choosing use their religious beliefs to hurt others.
"The problem is not the religion but the followers of the religion who distorted the essence to use it as a weapon or an instrument to attack others. There are good things in every religion but those who choose to use religion as a political instrument or an act of violence against other, are the problem," he added.