New Delhi: Asserting that freedom of expression was in the root of democracy, BJP today again differed with its ally Shiv Sena over the latter’s opposition to former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai and Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concert. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar described his party BJP’s current relation with Sena as “as usual” and dismissed Sena’s barb at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis that he did not understand the state much, saying “Maharashtra people do not think so”.
Disapproving of Sena’s protest against Ghulam Ali’s show, leading to its cancellation, Javadekar said this sort of politics over an artiste’s programme was not good. “This sort of politics to oppose the programme of any artiste is not good,” he told a press conference. Asked about smearing of ORF founder Sudheendra Kulkarni’s face with black ink allegedly by Shiv Sena workers over his refusal to cancel the book launch function of Kasuri, he said, “The freedom of expression in out country is in the root of democracy.”
He noted that BJP had fought against Emergency, which clamped down on freedom of expression, and it was Congress which imposed it.