Benny Hinn did not encourage conversions: CM

Defending the government action in permitting the controversial American evangelist and "miracle healer" Benny Hinn's programme here and his participation in it, Karnataka Chief Minister N Dharam Singh today sought to rubbish BJP claims that pastor's programme has had an impact on Hindus and encouraged conversions.

"The programme has neither any impact on Hindus nor it led to conversion of people into Christianity. BJP is obsessed with making an issue out of every religious issue," Singh said, attacking BJP while replying in the state Assembly to the charges levelled by the Opposition party against Hinn's three-day programme which concluded on Sunday and the government patronage.

Cautioning BJP against attempting to politicise issues concerning religion, Singh taunted the party saying, it has already been taught a lesson by people of the state and also the country in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

Chiding BJP for demanding his resignation for attending the "festival of blessings-pray for India" programme, Singh said: "I am not here to resign. I am here to rule the state. Congress and JD-S have come together to keep you (BJP) out of power."

He condemned the bandh call given by BJP, which caused damage to property and alleged "people did not support your protest. It is only your (BJP) men who indulged in stone throwing in some places."

Singh said he was unable to understand the BJP argument's on how Hinn's programme would promote conversion and exhorted the saffron party to desist from whipping up people's sentiments.