For its anti-Christian stand, BJP leans on Mahatma, Kenya's ex-President

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Milind Ghatwai Posted: Oct 04, 2008 at 0059 hrs IST
Bhopal, October 3 What connects independent Kenya's first President Jomo Kenyatta and Mahatma Gandhi? The BJP's answer is: their views on missionaries. The party on Thursday, the birth anniversary of the Mahatma, released nearly half-page advertisements in local newspapers, taking a quote each of the two leaders to further its campaign against Christianity.

"If I had power and could legislate, the first thing I would ban is conversions," the ad quotes the Mahatma. He made the statement in 1935 angered by conversions through allurement, the ad says.

It is followed by a famous quote of Jomo Kenyatta: "When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible."

The ad refers to Kenyatta's quote of 1964 without naming him. It does not name the Congress party either but says "his present-day followers are only driven by vote-bank politics". The ad concludes by saying that the BJP believes in Gandhi's nationalism, rural development and self-reliance unlike the followers who think only in terms of vote bank.

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