Religion is a personal affair, not a tool to win elections

Our readers weigh in on vaping, Sri Lanka and the Indian elections

Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, speaks during a rally in Mumbai, India, on Friday, April 26, 2019. Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the biggest majority in three decades in 2014 largely because the party more than doubled its tally in urban areas, while Congress lost 96 percent of the seats. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
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Please refer to your report Narendra Modi files papers in Varanasi for India's general election (April 27). You article states: "In his five years as prime minister, Mr Modi has pushed to promote the secular nation of 1.3 billion people and nine major religions as a distinctly Hindu state."

This is a deeply uncomfortable reality. The crucial economic agenda, which the BJP had pushed initially in 2014, appears to have been relegated to the background.

India is a secular country, but in the current elections, many candidates are using their religion to promote their policies and win votes. This is regressive, in my view. Religion is a personal matter, for the family and home. It should be not be allowed to become an election plank. It will be regrettable if India becomes even more religion driven than it already is. India needs growth, jobs, revenues, rural transformation and universities, not religious bigotry.

Rajendra Aneja, Dubai

Politics is an uncertain business and luck plays a big role. At Narendra Modi’s recent rally in Varanasi, tens of thousands of supporters turned out to hear him speak. And yet, this is a tough time for Mr Modi. While his well-wishers are confident he will overcome the hurdle and win this election, we will have to wait and see what the Indian people decide.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru

Communal elements have long set the tone in Sri Lanka

I refer to your article Violence is easily kindled in Sri Lanka, where ethnic and religious tensions have been allowed to fester (April 26). Political ­loudmouths and communally minded elements have set the agenda for decades in Sri Lanka. Many minorities feel that the authorities are ­partisan as well. A ­motor-mouthed politician was the first to name Muslims as the culprits of this month's attacks without any evidence that ISIS was to blame.

Name withheld by request

Vaping restrictions: a vital environmental initiative

I write in reference to your article Dubai issues warning over vaping in public places (April 26). Excellent. This is a good initiative that will clean the air we all breathe. It is a solid step for the protection of the environment.

Name withheld by request