Emphasising the importance of social integration, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh today said that people should not fall prey to any extremist elements, irrespective of their religion.”Social integration is the basis of India’s integration as a nation,” Singh said while addressing the ‘Prerna Yatra’ organised by the Maharashtra Congress to mark the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa.The Congress general secretary said that when Gandhiji started his mass movement against the British rule after his arrival from South Africa, secular values were at the core of the movement. “The values of secularism are embedded in our Constitution and those in power now are ignoring them to polarise the society for political gains,” Singh added. “When Congress speaks of secularism it means that people belonging to any religion should not fall prey to extremist elements from amongst them as it creates fissures and divisions in the society”, he added.Maharashtra Congress spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan said Singh’s remarks are significant due to the allegation of minority appeasement against the Congress, which is not true.He said that all state leaders including former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, senior leaders Narayan Rane, Harshwardhan Patil, Nitin Raut, state unit president Manikrao Thakre, AICC general secretary in charge of the state Mohan Prakash were prominent among those who participated in the walk that started from Gateway of India and ended at the Gandhi statue near Mantralaya, the state headquarters.It was on this day, 100 years ago, Gandhiji arrived from South Africa in Mumbai from where he embarked on initiating a non-violent mass movement against the British. Mahajan said the event was a beginning of the reinvigoration of the rank and file of the party, reeling under massive defeats in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

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Digvijay Singh says secularism being ignored for political gains