PRIME Minister Narendra Modi Sunday extended Vijayadashami greetings to the country and said that the festival was “very special” this time.
Speaking at a function to mark the release of a 15-volume compendium on former Jan Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyay, the Prime Minister said, “Hum aanewale dinon mein Vijayadashami manane wale hain. Yeh Vijayadashami desh ke liye bahut khas hai (We are going to celebrate Vijayadashami in the coming days. This Vijayadashami is very special for the country).”
With the festival due to be celebrated on Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s statement — coming 10 days after the surgical strikes conducted by the Army along the LoC — evoked thunderous applause from the audience that included several Union ministers.
Later, BJP MP Tarun Vijay tweeted: “Prime Minister said – ‘Vijayadashami greetings are special this year’ — amidst unending applause — everyone understood what he meant.”
Among the others present on the dais were RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi, BJP president Amit Shah and veteran RSS pracharak Mahesh Chand Sharma, who edited the compendium.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, MoS-PMO Jitendra Singh, MoS-Power Minister Piyush Goyal, MoS-Culture Mahesh Sharma and BJP veteran L K Advani were among the other leaders present at the function. The government is celebrating the birth centenary year of Upadhyay in the form of Garib Kalyan Varsh.
In his speech, Prime Minister Modi underlined the need for a “strong” armed forces and quoted Upadhyay: “He used to say that the country’s armed forces should be very capable, only then can the nation be strong.”
In what appeared to be a subtle message to Pakistan, the Prime Minister said, “Being strong does not mean being against anyone. If we exercise for our strength, then the neighbour need not worry that it is to target him. I am exercising to strengthen myself and for my health.”
Hailing Upadhyay, Modi said the Jan Sangh leader had ensured that “a political idea traversed the distance from opposition to an alternative in such a short time”.
He said that it was “a big achievement of Panditji” that he built an “organisation-based party” in the country.
Delving into the 1960s, the decade Upadhyay was the most active, the Prime Minister said that “there was an atmosphere in the country that only Congress would remain.”
It was a period when “political parties had not emerged in the country… from panchayat to the parliament, there was just one political party,” he said.
A political “vacuum was created” while the “Congress was experiencing a decline”, he said, adding that “to gauge the political deftness of Panditji, the period of 1962-67 holds considerable value”.
The Prime Minister also said that the “poor were at the centre of Panditji’s thought process”. Upadhyay “did not favour the trickle-down theory” but instead wanted the economy to be built on a bottom-to-top approach, he said.
“We need to take our vikas yatra (journey of development) in the direction where we empower the poor, and the poor become a major soldier in our fight against poverty,” said the Prime Minister.
Underlining India’s diversity, Modi said that “we are fortunate” to have over “100 dialects, and that every major religion is present here”. “This is the big amaanat (treasure) of our country,” he said.
Earlier, Amit Shah said that the BJP government had made the country secure. “Without diverting from the path of peace, the BJP government has ensured the country’s safety and security,” he said.
RSS leader Joshi underlined the need for strengthening India’s security. “India should be safe and secure… Its borders are posing a challenge and everyone has seen that this issue can be resolved too,” he said.
“India has a lot to give to the world and that is being recognised now. India’s strength is never destructive but constructive. India’s strength has never been used to spread boundaries… we go to win over the world, not defeat anyone… India should be a country that should lead the world,” he said.