New Delhi: A noted film personality, Javed Akhtar retiring as Rajya Sabha member on Wednesday said “adjournments” and “polarisation” will not help the country to move forward as he pleaded with the government and Opposition to work together hand in hand without thinking about the next elections.

“I hope both Opposition and the government will work together. Adjournments will not take us forward. Even polarisation will not take us forward. Please forget next election and think about the country,” he said in his ardent speech that was heard with rapt attention and intercepted by thumping of desks by members across party lines.

(Also read: Won’t say Bharat Mata ki Jai even if you put knife on my neck: Asaduddin Owaisi )

Akhtar was nominated to the Upper House by the UPA government.  

“There are capable leaders in the Modi government who can do good work but those making extremist comments, including some ministers, need to be reined in”, Akhtar said.  

The film lyricist slammed AIMIM leader and MP Asaddudin Owaisi for saying he would not chant ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ because the Constitution does not ask him to do so.

Objecting Owaisi’s remark, Javed Akhtar said in a veiled manner, “The Constitution even does not ask him to wear sherwani (Indian dress) and topi (cap)… I don’t care to know whether saying ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ is my duty or not, it is my right.”   

Saying this he chanted ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ a number of times.

At the same time, he also condemned those right-wing extremists who say Muslims should go to Pakistan.

Hailing the spirit of India’s deep-rooted democracy, Akhtar said it must be preserved at any cost while learning from the fate of those countries where one religion was given importance.

Highlighting the importance of democracy along with secularism, Akhtar said protecting secularism is not about protecting one community or the other. “We need to protect secularism because there cannot be democracy without it. I believe this is our greatest achievement.”

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