National law needed on conversions: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said a national law must make clear how voluntary conversion can take place while he also asked people not to expect a big bang union budget.Jaitley admitted
national law needed on conversions arun jaitley -...
IANS January 06, 2015 8:18 IST

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said a national law must make clear how voluntary conversion can take place while he also asked people not to expect a big bang union budget.

Jaitley admitted that the controversy over conversions was diffusing the development message of the government.

"Yes, I am concerned about headlines being hijacked. Our focus is development," he said on Monday.

"Let's have a national law which says how should voluntary conversion take place. The law has to be fundamental right compatible... Reconversion is also a conversion - so you'll have to have the same standards for both," he said.

On Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat's controversial comments on conversion, he said that Bhagwat has "said what he has before too, but media, opposition is just looking at controversies now".

He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his disapproval on the issue at a Bharatiya Janata Party MPs meeting.

"The PM has made his position clear."

The issue of "ghar wapsi" or re-conversion to Hinduism rocked parliament's winter session with many days of parliament work lost as opposition parties attacked the government.

Asked about the impending budget, Jaitley said: "I am not in the business of a 9 p.m. show that I will have a big bang budget and get the TRPs. Governance is a 365 day business."

"A government who is working on governance 365 days a year, the budget is a one-day affair. Yet it is very important. India must be in a hurry, only then the obstructionists can be put on the back foot," he said.

"We have done more reforms in seven months that the UPA government did in its whole tenure," he claimed.

On the Jammu and Kashmir government formation with the Peoples Democratic Party in talks with the BJP, Jaitley said it was "very difficult" for political parties to give up their ideological position but hinted that controversial issues could be set aside.

He said the BJP is ideologically different from the PDP and the National Conference and it is "very difficult for parties to give up their ideological positions".

"In this kind of a format you have to speak to everyone. We're not happy with governor's rule, we want a popular government," he said, adding: "I hope parties involved in the process put their heads together."

 
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