Playing politics with patriotism ‘shameful’: Mahesh Sharma

New Delhi, In a scathing attack on the Opposition amid ongoing assembly poll campaign, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma today said politics should not be played with religion and security forces and charged ‘netaji’ and ‘behanji’ with playing the minority card.

Raising the political pitch, Sharma, who belongs to Uttar Pradesh, said it was “shameful” to divide the society on the basis of religion and for some people to claim that Muslims are with them.

In an apparent dig at Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections, Sharma said “some ‘netaji’ and ‘behanji’ say Muslims mera hai (Muslims are with us).”

Initiating a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address, Sharma said it was “shameful” that proof was sought by the Opposition for “patriotism” after the surgical strikes.

For the first time, “rashtra bhakti ka saboot dena pada (proof of patriotism had to be given),” Sharma said while referring to the Opposition demanding evidence for the surgical strikes carried out by the forces last year to destroy terror camps across the border.

The Minister said it needs “not only a ’56 inch chest’ but also a ‘beating heart'”, along with firm commitment, to take up developmental works under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Alleging that politics was being done in the names of Dr Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi, Sharma said the Opposition should not to do politics on issues relating to national interest.

Amid criticism over the demonetisation move affecting many people and its overall benefits, Sharma claimed that while the whole nation stood with the Prime Minister, the Opposition chose to be with the corrupt people.

Sharma said Prime Minister knew about the Assembly elections in five states but despite that he took this “bold and historic” step to curb the menace of black money and corruption.

He also said people raised questions that demonetisation was not a planned step but how “we pumped new currency within 24 hours. All are standing with the Prime Minister on this decision”.