New Delhi: BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has said the party's poll promise of implementing a Uniform Civil Code in India does not mean that the Hindu code would be imposed on all citizens.
Narendra Modi after casting his vote in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. File pic
"The constitution says the government will make efforts to implement the Uniform Civil Code. The second important point I would like to make clear is that implementing a Uniform Civil Code does not mean that all citizens of the country will be brought under the Hindu code," Modi told Urdu weekly Nai Duniya.
"I believe that there are several provisions in the Hindu Code which are irrelevant and they need reforms... carrying 18th century laws in the 21st century is unnecessary," he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party election manifesto promises to implement a Uniform Civil Code in the country if it comes to power.
In a move to assuage apprehensions among Muslims, Modi has ruled out scrapping any existing constitutional and statutory mechanisms meant for their welfare. He has said he would instead work to strengthen them.
Modi said the Congress has used secularism to pocket Muslim votes and the community is now being treated as a "vote bank" by it and other parties.
He said the constitution has given equal rights to all citizens and added that religious harmony and respect for all religions are in "India's DNA".
Modi said "extremism" over castes and religions have been used to divide the country and advocated "zero tolerance" for the guilty in religious and caste violence.
He maintained that secularism has been "exploited" for political purposes and that the present day politics is revolving around it.