New Delhi [India], April 14 (ANI): Karnataka will face assembly elections next month, and in anticipation of that event, spiritual leaders, politicians and intelligentsia will take part in a communal harmony promotion conclave on April 17.
The focus of the conclave is likely to be a call to all sections of society not to exploit religious sentiments for political capital or advantage in the run-up to the election.
Former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan will be the key speaker at the conclave. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the Bharatiya Janata Party's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, All India Mahila Empowerment Party Chief Dr. Nowhera Shaik, Aam Adami Party leader Kumar Vishwas, politician and former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin will be the other main speakers at the event.
Noted Islamic scholar and Chairman of Ilm-o-Hunar Foundation Mufti Manzoor Ziayee said on Saturday, "No one can be or should be categorised as anti-national or non-patriotic based on his or her religion, region or community. We must not seek votes in the name of religion. Rather political parties should seek votes on the basis of what education and skill development they are imparting to the people."
The election in Karnataka in May is crucial for both the ruling Congress Party, which would be keen to retain power and for the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is keen to emerge from its political wilderness in the southern part of India.
"Religion has been exploited by the politicians to gain votes. If we want our country to be politically sound, then religion should not be exploited. Religion is one's own personal belief and should be left to oneself,"' said Ziayee.
The Supreme Court has held last year that politicians making religious appeals are not in line with the spirit of the Constitution. If the education could promote fraternity among all religions, people would be immune to political rhetoric, it added.
Mumbai-based Ziayee said "Yes, I strongly endorse the Supreme Court verdict and believe that religion should not be mixed with politics.. Only education and skill development can alter the prevailing political attitude.".
The conclave is being organised under the banner of Ilm-o-Hunar, an organization which promotes nationalism by giving the underprivileged a boost through education and skill development. (ANI)