The word secular is the biggest lie been told since Independence, and those who use it should apologise to the people, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath said on Monday, The Indian Express reported.

“No system can be secular,” the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said at a function in Raipur. “The political system can be sect-neutral. But if someone were to say the government has to be run by one way of prayer, that is not possible.”

Adityanath also said that “distorting history was no less a crime than sedition”. At another meeting of BJP leaders in Raipur, he accused the Congress of “playing with the core emotions of this country”.

“For its own selfish aims, it divided the country on the lines of caste, region and language,” the chief minister said. “There is terrorism somewhere, Naxalism somewhere, separatism somewhere.”

On Tuesday, Adityanath will kick off the BJP’s campaign in Ayodhya for the urban local body elections, which will be held in three phases from November 22.