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BJP Draws The Line For Spokespersons After Prophet Comments Row

The BJP also wants its spokespersons to focus on the government’s social welfare work.

New Delhi:

The ruling BJP has set new boundaries for its spokespersons and leaders joining TV debates as its government faces a huge international backlash over party leader Nupur Sharma’s comments on Prophet Muhammad.

Only authorized spokespersons and panelists will participate in TV debates, BJP sources say, and they will be assigned by the media cell.

The spokespersons have been warned against criticising any religion, its symbols or religious figures.

BJP panelists have been forbidden from crossing the line during heated discussions. They have been urged to keep their language restrained and not get agitated or excited, sources say. For no provocation can they violate the party’s ideology or ideals, they add.

The BJP has ordered its spokespersons to first check for the topic of the TV discussion, prepare for it and find out the party’s line on it before appearing on any channel.

“Spokespersons and panelists of the party should stay on the agenda. They should not fall into any trap,” sources said.

The BJP also wants its spokespersons to focus on the government’s social welfare work.

The government continues to firefight after the comments of two leaders provoked condemnation from at least 15 countries.

Nupur Sharma, who has since been suspended, made the comments during a TV debate around 10 days ago. She said on Twitter that her comments had been in response to “insults” made against Lord Shiva. Another party leader, Naveen Jindal, was expelled for posting a tweet about the Prophet that he later deleted. The government sought to distance itself from the comments by describing them as “views of fringe elements”.

The BJP on Sunday said it is “strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion” and “does not promote such people or philosophy”. Despite the attempts at damage control, several Muslim nations have summoned India’s envoys and demanded apologies for the comments.

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