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Laying the foundation stone for a new and bigger party office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the BJP had made more sacrifices than any other party, and that BJP workers had had to suffer more than what the Congress had suffered during British rule.
The remark drew criticism on social media, while the Congress described it as “humiliation and denigration of the entire freedom struggle”.
Modi, addressing party leaders and workers during the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the BJP’s new office on Deendayal Upadhyay Marg, said: “The BJP will perhaps be the first party in India that has, ever since its inception, been swimming against the current. No other party has made as much sacrifice as the BJP post-Independence.
“We have faced storms of protests at every step… Even the Congress may not have faced so much difficulty during British rule as our party workers had to face since 1950 till date,” the PM said at the event, attended by top BJP leaders including Amit Shah, L K Advani, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley.
The Congress slammed the PM for his remarks. “By disowning the entire freedom struggle, by belittling the sacrifice made by crores of Indians and Congressmen… the PM has humiliated and denigrated the entire freedom struggle,” Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said. “The PM must apologise… He must withdraw his statement.”
Recalling the “earlier days” of the BJP, Modi said the party was not even provided land for an office. He said the new party office, to be built on 8,000 sq m, would not just be a “building but a symbol of all the sacrifices made by party workers”.
The PM warned workers that fissiparous forces had become more active, and it was imperative to ensure that society becomes more harmonious. He reiterated his party’s commitment to take everybody along with the motto “sabka saath, sabka vikas”.
At the event, party chief Amit Shah said, “When we have the world’s most popular leader in Narendra Modi, then it is our responsibility that we live up to the expectations of the common man and lend permanence to the wide public support the party is getting.”